May 21, 2022 Daily Update
SOUTHWEST AREA INCIDENT MANAGEMENT TEAM
TEAM 4 – AARON HULBURD – INCIDENT COMMANDER
Acres: 21,732 acres
Total Personnel: 671
Start Date: May 1, 2022
Location: San Mateo Mountains, Magdalena Ranger District, Socorro County, NM
Fuels: Pine, Pinyon-Juniper and Grass
Highlights: Despite challenging conditions, firefighters were able to successfully hold all constructed fire lines around the Bear Trap Fire during yesterday’s high wind event. Crews are concentrating their efforts on patrolling handlines, dozerlines, and roads around the fire area to ensure no fire crosses over these designated boundaries. A daily operational briefing video explaining details of the Bear Trap Fire operations can be viewed on the Cibola National Forest Facebook page.
Operations: Under Red Flag conditions, air support was limited yesterday due to high wind speeds. Elevated fire weather tested control lines around the fire, particularly on the east side as winds pushed from the west. All around the fire, crews defended the lines and prevented any fire spread outside of these boundaries. Firefighters on the ground continue to patrol and monitor control lines, watching for any signs of increased fire activity near the edge. In those areas where fire has already passed through, crews are searching for residual smoke or hot spots and extinguishing them by wetting down or removing any burning material. Along roadways, crews have been cutting small trees and limbs and moving this material to the opposite side of the road, removing it from the fire’s path. After this vegetation is cut, firefighters are using specialized equipment called “chippers” to break it down into small wood chips. These suppression repair activities help to 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 flow remains in place over the region. As a result, winds will once again become gusty from the southwest by early afternoon, particularly across exposed areas. Temperatures will warm into the 70s. A prolonged stretch of warm, dry, and breezy conditions are expected across the fire.
Closures and Restrictions: The Cibola National Forest and National Grasslands (NF & NGs) have now issued an updated fire area, road and trail closure (No. 03-0728) to protect public health and safety during fire operations on the Bear Trap Fire. This closure order expands the previous closure area to provide for continued firefighter safety during wildland fire suppression and emergency operations. This order supersedes the previous order No. 03-0726. Based on high fire danger and severe fire weather conditions, the Cibola NF & NGs have also implemented Stage 2 Fire Restrictions on the Magdalena Ranger District (No. 03-0724). Both closure orders and maps are available at https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/cibola/alerts-notices.
Safety: The health and safety of firefighters and the public are 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. More information on the dangers drones pose to wildland firefighting aircraft and personnel on the ground can be found at https://www.nifc.gov/drones/.
Smoke: Smoke from the Bear Trap Fire and other nearby fires may be visible in the areas of Alamo, Datil, Magdalena, Socorro, Winston, and San Antonio, NM. Smoke-sensitive individuals and people with respiratory problems or heart disease are encouraged to take precautionary measures. Information on air quality and protecting your health can be found at the New Mexico Department of Health Environmental Public Health Tracking website: nmtracking.org. An interactive smoke map at https://fire.airnow.gov/ allows you to zoom into your area to see the latest smoke conditions.
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