| Historically Dry Conditions and High Temperatures Fuel Bear Trap FireNM Fire Info
May 15, 2022 Daily Update
Acres: 11,550 acres
Total staff: 540
Start date: May 1, 2022
Location: San Mateo Mountains, Magdalena Ranger District, Socorro County, New Mexico
Fuels: Pine, pinyon-juniper and grass
Strong points: Historically dry conditions and above normal temperatures along with increasing winds continue to test the Bear Trap Fire. These critical conditions pose challenges for firefighters as the fire continues to progress southeast. An operational information video explaining the details of Bear Trap Fire operations is now available on the Cibola National Forest Facebook Page.
Operations: Firefighters continue to develop strategies to completely contain the blaze, prioritizing firefighter and public safety while protecting valuable resources. To reduce impacts on sensitive natural and cultural resources, teams work directly with resource advisors who have expert local knowledge of the area. At the northern end of the fire, containment lines are secured as firefighters move south along existing roads to clear vegetation to improve access and reduce fuels. Areas previously burned by prescribed fires and wildfires are helping to limit the fire’s spread to the northwest, northeast and east, but the main fire continues to slowly progress to the southeast. Firefighters are building control lines using a combination of hand tools and heavy equipment to improve roads and connect to natural barriers, such as rock cliffs, to stop the fire’s southward spread. Crews are strategically applying low intensity fire along the main roads to the west and northwest to clear vegetation between Bear Trap Road and the main fire.
Weather: Temperatures are climbing about 10 degrees above normal. Extremely dry air will continue for the next few days. Winds are expected to pick up by Sunday afternoon and into next week, adding to concerns about the fires.
Closures: The Cibola National Forest and National Grasslands (NF and NG) have issued a fire area closure, road and trail closure to protect public health and safety during fire operations on the Bear Trap Fire. The full closure order (No. 03-0726) and the map are available at https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/cibola/alerts-notices.
Restrictions: Based on the high fire danger and severe fire weather conditions, Cibola NF and NG have implemented Phase 2 fire restrictions in mountain districts including Magdalena Ranger District. The complete command (No. 03-0724) and the map 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 may be visible in the areas surrounding Alamo, Datil, Magdalena, Socorro and San Antonio, NM. 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 can be found on the New Mexico Department of Health’s Environmental Public Health Tracking website: nmtracking.org. An interactive smoke map to https://fire.airnow.gov/ allows you to zoom into your area to see the latest smoke conditions.
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