Firefighters make progress on control lines ahead of the Bear Trap Fire - May 18 UPDATE

Release Date: May 18, 2022

Bear Trap Fire Map
Bear Trap Fire Progression Map

Acres: 17,122 acres
Start Date:  May 1, 2022
Cause: Undetermined
Containment: 28%
Total Personnel: 667
Location: San Mateo Mountains, Magdalena Ranger District, Socorro County, NM (Map)
Fuels: Pine, Pinyon-Juniper and Grass

Highlights:  Firefighters have made significant progress on the construction of control lines ahead of the main fire, connecting hand lines and dozer lines into natural features such as ridges and cliffs as well as the existing road system. Despite exceptionally dry conditions, fire growth has been limited as the fire moves slowly against the wind and downslope. A daily operational briefing video explaining details of the Bear Trap Fire operations can be viewed on the Cibola National Forest and National Grasslands Facebook page.

Operations:  Although firefighters have observed some heat on the northern and eastern sides of the fire, there is very little fire movement through the previously burned areas. Crews are continuing control line construction to the southwest, followed by low intensity burning operations inside the lines near Grassy Lookout and Hudson Canyon. By removing excess vegetation ahead of the main fire, firefighters can limit the fire’s intensity to prevent it from crossing these lines. In the southeast, firefighters continue to evaluate fire behavior as they develop a plan to finish line construction into the Narrow Spring area. Helicopters are supporting firefighters on the ground by dropping water from specially designed buckets to cool down the fire as it approaches constructed lines. Crews are working with local Resource Advisors to follow general guidelines for the protection of sensitive resources, including threatened and endangered species habitat, while achieving incident objectives.

Weather: Today’s temperatures will be about 8 degrees higher than normal with light winds. These continued warm, dry, unstable, and breezy to windy afternoons are typical of mid-May in the Southwest, and are expected for the next few days. Temperatures should cool off later in the week but will likely be accompanied by increasing winds starting on Friday.

Closures: The Cibola National Forest and National Grasslands (NF & NGs) have issued a fire area, road and trails closure  (No. 03-0726) to protect public health and safety during fire operations on the Bear Trap Fire.

Restrictions:  Based on high fire danger and severe fire weather conditions, the Cibola NF & NGs implemented Stage 2 Fire Restrictions (No. 03-0724) on the mountain districts, including the Magdalena Ranger District. 

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. The NIFC provides more information on the dangers drones pose to wildland firefighting aircraft and personnel on the ground.

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. An interactive smoke map 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. 

Email: 2022.beartrap@firenet.gov   Phone: (928) 362-2906  Office Hours: 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM