Firefighters identify repair needs on the Bear Trap Fire
Release Date: May 22, 2022
May 22, 2022 Daily Update
Acres: 23,043 acres
Total Personnel: 636
Start Date: May 1, 2022
Location: San Mateo Mountains, Magdalena Ranger District, Socorro County, NM
Fuels: Pine, Pinyon-Juniper and Grass
Highlights: After several successful days on the fire, crews are beginning to identify and assess any repairs needed to reduce evidence of suppression activities on the landscape. In areas where smoke and heat are no longer detected, firefighters are removing cut vegetation, improving road conditions, and installing erosion control structures. 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 favorable conditions, firefighters are completing additional firing operations to reinforce control lines on the southern portion of the fire area. Helicopter crew members are assisting firefighters on the ground by igniting ridgetops inside the control lines to reduce the amount of vegetation in the path of the main fire. As this low intensity fire moves slowly down the slopes, it consumes excess vegetation to reduce the intensity of the main fire. Firefighters are also using helicopters to drop 240-gallon buckets of water to cool down the fire as it approaches the control lines. On the ground, crews are traveling back and forth along roads, dozerlines, and hand lines to ensure that fire does not spread or ignite outside the perimeter. Field observers are collecting and recording information around the fire to identify areas that need repairs following suppression activities. Observations have confirmed that structures within the fire area, including Withington Lookout, Grassy Lookout, and Bear Trap Campground, were protected and remain in good condition.
Weather: Elevated fire weather conditions will continue today. Early morning southerly winds will switch to southwesterly by midday and become gusty. Temperatures will trend slightly cooler although humidity will remain low. Winds will diminish shortly after sunset. This pattern will remain in place on Monday, resulting in another day of elevated fire weather.
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.