Historically dry conditions and high temperatures fuel the Bear Trap Fire

Release Date: May 15, 2022

May 15, 2022 Daily Update

Bear Trap Fire Map 051522Acres: 11,550 acres        
Containment: 30%
Cause: Undetermined
Total Personnel: 540
Start Date:  May 1, 2022
Fuels: Pine, Pinyon-Juniper and Grass
Location: San Mateo Mountains, Magdalena Ranger District, Socorro County, NM

Highlights: Historically dry conditions and higher than normal temperatures along with increasing winds continue to test the Bear Trap Fire. These critical conditions are posing challenges to firefighters as the fire continues to advance further to the southeast. An operational briefing video explaining details of the Bear Trap Fire operations is now available on the Cibola National Forest Facebook page.

Operations: Firefighters are continuing to develop strategies to fully contain the fire, prioritizing firefighter and public safety while protecting valuable resources. To reduce impacts to sensitive natural and cultural resources, crews are working directly with Resource Advisors who have expert local knowledge of the area. On the northern end of the fire, containment lines are holding secure as firefighters move south along existing roads to clear vegetation to help improve access and reduce fuels. Areas previously burned by prescribed fires and wildfires are helping to limit fire spread to the northwest, northeast and east, but the main fire continues to slowly advance to the southeast. Firefighters are constructing control lines using a combination of hand tools and heavy equipment to improve roads and connect into natural barriers, such as rock cliffs, to stop fire spread to the south. Crews are strategically applying low intensity fire along main roads to the west and northwest to remove vegetation between the Bear Trap Road and the main fire.

Weather: Temperatures are creeping upward to about 10 degrees warmer than normal. Critically dry air will continue for the next few days. Winds are expecting to pick up by Sunday afternoon and into next week furthering fire weather concerns.

Closures: The Cibola National Forest and National Grasslands (NF & NGs) have issued a fire area closure, road and trails closure to protect public health and safety during fire operations on the Bear Trap Fire. The full closure order (No. 03-0726) and map are available at https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/cibola/alerts-notices

Restrictions: Based on high fire danger and severe fire weather conditions, the Cibola NF & NGs implemented Stage 2 Fire Restrictions on the mountain districts, including the Magdalena Ranger District. The full order (No. 03-0724) and map 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 may be visible in the surrounding areas of Alamo, Datil, Magdalena, Socorro, 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.

Fire updates are posted on InciWeb, Cibola NF & NGs website, Facebook and Twitter pages, the NM Fire Information website.