Gila NF: Johnson Fire Update for May 31, 2021

Johnson Fire – Update May 31, 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: ~30,826 acres                                        Cause: Lightning

Vegetation: Ponderosa Pine and Grass

Resources: Two Interagency Hotshot Crew, one ten-person Handcrew, three ten-person Wildfire Modules, three Type 3 Engines, one Type 6 Engine, one Water Tender, and two Type 3 Helicopters including a short haul medical helicopter.

Summary: The Johnson Fire is approximately 30,826 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. Yesterday the fire continued to have an active perimeter and fire behavior was moderate.  Crews continued to monitor the fire as it backed toward the West Fork Gila River.  The plan for today is to continue prepping the Trail #163 in EE Canyon for future fire operations and monitor fire as it moves towards the West Fork Gila River. Crews will begin protection activities around White Creek Cabin and monitor fire as it moves towards the west.   Additionally, crews will assess structures around Gila Center, Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument, and the Scorpion Campsites.  

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: As fire activity increases,please avoid travelling Wilderness trails in the West Fork of the Gila River area. Additional trail closures will occur beginning June 1 for public safety.  For further information please call 575-536-2250 (M-F 8:00 – 4:00 p.m.) or 575-519-0103 (any time before 9:00 p.m.)

Announcement:  A Community Meeting will be held on Tuesday, June 1 at 6:30 p.m. at Doc Campbell’s Post in Gila Center off NM Hwy 15 to discuss fire operations.

Weather: Today will continue to be dry beforerain chances move in by Tuesday.  Relative humidity will increase with the incoming weather patterns. Winds are expected to be out of the west, 8-15 mph with gusts to 24 mph. Thunderstorm chances increase today and may continue throughout the week.

Smoke/Air Quality: Moderate smoke impacts may be observed in low lying areas overnight, with periods of light to moderate smoke during the day. 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. Smoke monitors have been placed at Gila Center, Lake Roberts, and the Wilderness Ranger District to assess smoke impacts,

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