May 21, 2022 Daily Update
SOUTH-WEST AREA INCIDENT MANAGEMENT TEAM
TEAM 4 – AARON HULBURD – INCIDENT COMMANDER
Acres: 21,732 acres
Total staff: 671
Start date: May 1, 2022
Location: San Mateo Mountains, Magdalena Ranger District, Socorro County, New Mexico
Fuels: Pine, pinyon-juniper and grass
Strong points: Despite difficult conditions, firefighters were able to maintain all fire lines built around the Bear Trap Fire during yesterday’s high winds. Crews are focusing their efforts on patrolling hand lines, bulldozer lines and roads around the fire area to ensure no fire crosses these designated boundaries. A daily operational briefing video explaining details of Bear Trap Fire operations can be viewed on the Cibola National Forest Facebook page.
Operations: In red flag conditions, air support was limited yesterday due to high winds. Raised control lines were weather-tested around the fire, particularly on the east side as the winds pushed in from the west. All around the fire, crews defended the lines and prevented any fire from spreading outside these boundaries. Ground firefighters continue to patrol and monitor the lines of control, watching for any signs of increased fire activity near the edge. In areas where the fire has already passed through, crews search for residual smoke or hot spots and extinguish them by wetting or removing any burning material. Along the roads, crews cut down small trees and branches and moved this material across the road, removing it from the path of the fire. Once this vegetation has been cut, firefighters use specialized equipment called “chipers” to break it down into small wood chips. These suppression repair activities help reduce evidence of fire operations with the goal of minimizing future impacts to soil, water and other sensitive resources.
Weather: Fire weather conditions will remain elevated today as a dry southwesterly circulation remains in place over the region. As a result, winds will return to gusty southwesterlies by early afternoon, particularly in exposed areas. Temperatures will warm into the 70s. A prolonged period of hot, dry and windy conditions are expected through the fire.
Closures and restrictions: Cibola National Forest and National Grasslands (NF and NG) has now released an updated fire zone, road and trail closures (#03-0728) to protect health and safety of the public during the fire operations on the Bear Trap Fire. This closure order expands the previous closure area to ensure the continued safety of firefighters during wildfire suppression and emergency operations. This command replaces the previous command no. 03-0726. Based on the high fire danger and severe fire weather conditions, Cibola NF and NG have also implemented Phase 2 fire restrictions in the Magdalena Ranger District (#03-0724). Closing orders and maps are available at https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/cibola/alerts-notices.
Security: The health and safety of firefighters and the public is always the first priority. Members of the public should stay away from Bear Trap Fire operations. A temporary flight restriction (TFR) is in place over the area, which includes unmanned aircraft or drones. For more information on the dangers drones pose to wildfire-fighting aircraft and ground personnel, go to https://www.nifc.gov/drones/.
Smoke: Smoke from the Bear Trap Fire and other nearby fires may be visible in the Alamo, Datil, Magdalena, Socorro, Winston and San Antonio, NM areas. People sensitive to smoke and people with respiratory problems or heart conditions are encouraged to take precautionary measures. Information on air quality and protecting your health is available on the New Mexico Department of Health’s Environmental Public Health Tracking website: nmtracking.org. An interactive smoke map at https://fire.airnow.gov/ lets you zoom into your area to see the latest smoke conditions.
Fire updates are posted on InciWeb, the Cibola NF & NGs website, Facebook and Twitter pages, NM’s fire information website.
E-mail: [email protected] • Call: (928) 362-2906 • Office Hours: 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.