Gila NF: Johnson Fire Update for June 1, 2021

Johnson Fire – Update June 1, 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: ~34,944 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, two Type 6 Engine, one Water Tender, and two Type 3 Helicopters including a short haul medical helicopter.

Summary: The Johnson Fire is approximately 34,944 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. Crews resumed trail line preparations on Trail #163 for upcoming fire operations. Crews started structure protection and fuel reduction around the Gila Cliff Dwellings as a precautionary measure.  The plan for today is to continue prepping Trail #163 in EE Canyon, and other connecting trails for future firing operations. Crews are monitoring the fire as it moves towards the West Fork Gila River and enters the 2020 Cub and Good Fire perimeters. Firefighters will continue structure protection activities around White Creek Cabin, the Gila Center, and Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument.

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: Due to hazardous fire conditions in the area, the West Fork Gila River trail network will be CLOSED to visitor use beginning June 1, 2021 until further notice, and the Middle Fork of the Gila River Trail #157 is transitioning to DAY-USE ONLY beginning June 1, 2021. Visitors are warned to keep off these trails for their personal safety and to not impede the work of firefighters managing the fire. 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 today, Tuesday, June 1, 2021 at 6:30 p.m. at Doc Campbell’s Post in Gila Center off NM Hwy 15 to discuss fire operations.

Weather: A slight chance for moisture is expected over the Gila region. Today will be warm with generally dry conditions and occasional breezes. Expect more clouds, with a rising relative humidity, and generally clear morning, with a building of clouds mid-day. Tonight, north and northeast winds bring in some added surface moisture. This means daily there are chances for isolated to scattered rain showers and thunderstorms.

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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