Gila NF: Johnson Fire Update-May 28, 2021

Johnson Fire – Update May 28, 2021

Location: Johnson Canyon, west of McKenna Park. 11 miles west of Gila Cliff Dwellings, Wilderness Ranger District, Catron County, NM

Start Date: May 20, 2021                                           Size: ~18184 acres                                          Cause: Lightning

Vegetation: Ponderosa Pine and Grass

Resources: One Interagency Hotshot Crew, one ten-person Handcrew, two ten-person Wildfire Modules, one Water Tender, and one Type 3 Helicopter.

Summary: The Johnson Fire is approximately 18,184 acres and is burning on National Forest System lands on the Wilderness Ranger District, Gila National Forest. The suppression strategy for this fire is confine and contain.  Overall fire behavior is moderate, with some wind driven runs, backing, and flanking in most areas of the fire. Yesterday, crews continued to hold and improve fireline in Raw Meat Canyon.  To the north, crews prepared the West Fork Gila River for firing operations. Prior Cabin and other cultural sites have been prepped in case of fire activity. The plan for today is to continue securing the northwest perimeter into Trail Canyon and conduct firing operations on the West Fork Gila River. In addition, contingency resources are scouting the lower West Fork Gila River and EE Canyon for future operations.

Objectives: Provide for public and firefighter safety and allow fire to play its natural role on the landscape. Values at risk are the White Creek Cabin and sensitive aquatic species in the Gila Wilderness.

Safety: Please avoid travelling the Wilderness trails indicated on the Trails to Avoid Map in Inciweb. If you are unsure and want to verify where you may go within the boundaries of the Gila Wilderness, please call 575-536-2250 (M-F 8:00 – 4:00 p.m.) or 575-519-0103 (any time before 9:00 p.m.)

Weather: A drying trend will continue today with warm temperatures and critical relative humidity dropping into the single digits. West winds are expected to be 5-15 mph, with gusts up to 20 mph in the afternoon.

Smoke/Air Quality: The New Mexico Department of Health site also known as 5-3-1, has good information and guidance on mitigating your smoke exposure. Smoke-sensitive individuals and people with respiratory problems are encouraged to take precautionary measures by staying inside during heavy smoke periods and avoiding outdoor activities. Smoke will visible from NM Highway 15, NM Hwy 35, and US Highway 180, and on the trail system. A smoke monitor has been placed at Gila Center and Lake Roberts to assess smoke impacts,

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