Lincoln National Forest: Dark Canyon Fire Update August 8, 2020: Crew Conduct Firing Operations

Jurisdiction: Smokey Bear Ranger District, Lincoln National Forest

Size: 300 acres

Cause: Lightning

Date/Time Detected: August 4, 2020 at 4:30pm

Location: 9 miles northwest of Capitan, NM north of Tuscon Mountain near Dark Canyon.

Lat/Long: 33°40’0.16″N 105°37’42.61″W

Fuel Type: Grass, piñon-juniper, ponderosa pine, dead and down forest debris

Values at Risk: Private Land

Dark Canyon Fire Map

Fire Update:  Today crews conducted firing operations on the south side of the Dark Canyon Fire. The technique is also called backburning, and it involves setting a controlled fire in the path of the approaching wildfire. All the flammable material is burnt up and extinguished. When the wildfire approaches, there’s no more fuel left for it to keep going, and it dies out. Firing operations will increase smoke in the fire area and will be visible from Highway 380 and Highway 246. Please visit the NM Department of Health’s smoke page at for information on protecting your health on smoky days. Firefighters are using a full-suppression confine-and-contain strategy and plan to hold the fire east of Road 9743 and north of Road 1056. They will also put in place point protection around sensitive archeological sites and continue scouting the fire area for confinement options to the west.

The Dark Canyon Fire will likely continue to increase in size over the coming days. However, the fire is burning at low-intensity. High-intensity or catastrophic fires tend to occur during periods of extended hot, dry, and windy weather conditions, that are typical in May and June in the southwest. This is the opposite weather patterns we are experiencing now that the monsoon season has arrived and is providing periodic moisture and higher humidity levels. Weather is a big factor when it comes to wildfire spread. Temperatures today are expected to be in low 80s with a 20 percent chance of rain. Humidity levels will average 35 percent and winds 5-10 mph will be present.

Fire updates will occur daily on the Dark Canyon Fire until no longer warranted. Fire information will be posted on

PIO: Laura Rabon, 505-681-2837

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