Gila NF: Johnson Fire Update for June 5, 2021

Saturday, June 5, 2021

Visit the New Mexico Fire Information website at


Fire Phone 575-519-0103


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: ~ 38,300                                        Cause:  Lightning   

Vegetation: Ponderosa Pine and Grass                             Total Personnel: 183                          Containment:  0%

RESOURCES: Three Interagency Hotshot Crews, one ten-person Hand crew, three ten-person Wildfire Modules, three Type 3 Engines, three Type 6 Engines, five Water Tenders, and two Type 3 Helicopters including a short haul medical helicopter and one Type 1 helicopter.  

SUMMARY: The Johnson Fire is approximately 38,300 acres and is burning in the Gila Wilderness on the Gila National Forest. The suppression strategy for this fire is confine and contain. Yesterday afternoon a small spot fire was detected across the northern control line near Straw Canyon and firefighters quickly responded to secure the spot. The fire continued to back toward all perimeters with some increased fire behavior in the Sycamore, South Fork Mogollon, and Manzanita Creek Canyons.  A new lightning caused fire was detected west of the fire near Gobbler Creek. Today crews will continue to monitor fire activity on the northern edge of the fire while the south and eastern perimeters will be monitored by aerial observation. Firefighters will mop up the spot fire across the northern edge of the fire. The Structure Protection Group will continue assessment and protection around the Gila Visitor Center and the Gila Cliff Dwelling Contact Center area.

INCIDENT OBJECTIVES:  Provide for public and firefighter safety and allow fire to play its natural role on the landscape. Utilize Minimum Impact Suppression techniques. Insure information is accurate and timely regarding closures and planned fire operations. Values at risk are the White Creek Cabin and sensitive aquatic species in the Gila Wilderness.

FIRE BEHAVIOR: Moderate fire activity, with creeping, backing, and scattered torching.  

ANNOUNCEMENT:  The Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument CLOSED today, June 5, 2021 and the closure shall remain in effect until rescinded.  The Cliff Dwellings are being closed while fire managers implement a burn-out operation for the Johnson Fire. 

WEATHER:  The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning for today from 12:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Shower and thunderstorm activity is expected to occur in the south and southeast areas of the fire.  These storms can produce hail followed by gusty and erratic winds. Overnight relative humidity recoveries will be around 35-45% whereas minimum relative humidity remains around 14-16% through Saturday.

AIR QUALITY:  Moderate smoke impacts may be observed in low lying areas overnight, with periods of light to moderate smoke during the day. 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 the Wilderness Ranger District (Unit #1073), Lake Roberts (Unit #1074),Gila Center (Unit #1075) and in Cliff, NM (Unit #1074) to assess smoke impacts, and can be viewed at Please see the New Mexico Department of Health site also known as 5-3-1, for 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.

SAFETY:  Due to hazardous fire conditions in the area, the West Fork Gila River trail network as well as the Middle Fork Trail #157 is CLOSED to visitor use until further notice. 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 call 575-536-2250 (M-F 8:00 – 4:00 p.m.) or 575-519-0103 (any time before 7:00 p.m.)

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: