SOUTHWEST AREA INCIDENT MANAGEMENT TEAM
Team 4 - Dave Bales - Incident Commander
Minimal burnout operations expected on the Bonita Fire
June 21, 2017 Daily Update
Start Date: June 3, 2017
Location: Bonita Canyon, 3 miles north of Cañon Plaza
Fuels: Timber (grass and understory), brush, short grass
Total personnel: 358
The Bonita Fire continues to burn on lands administered by the Carson National Forest on the El Rito Ranger District. Yesterday, firefighters with the Type 2 Incident Management Team conducted burnout operations along the southern edge of the fire planning area. Fire was applied to the landscape using both aerial and hand ignitions to remove grasses, brush and other vegetation in attempt to slow fire growth. Increased smoke was visible from the southern side of the fire as a result of these strategic ignitions. Firefighters were able to slow the spread of fire to the east through an area previously treated by a prescribed burn. On the northern and western sides, crews patrolled the fire perimeter and extinguished remaining areas of heat.
This morning, smoke generated from yesterday’s burnout operations is likely to settle in Vallecitos Canyon and Ojo Caliente. The highest concentration of smoke will occur around sunrise and will disperse as temperatures increase throughout the day. The amount of smoke is expected to diminish each day now that a significant amount of fuel is no longer available to the fire.
The New Mexico Department of Health advises those residents affected by the smoke, including individuals with respiratory or heart disease, adults over age 65, young children, and pregnant women, to relocate until the air quality improves. The clean air shelter at the Abiquiu Rural Events Center did not receive any guests last night, and air quality monitoring data has shown a reduction in smoke impacts, therefore the shelter will be closing today. The air quality monitor at Cañon Plaza shows that conditions may be unhealthy for sensitive groups, however the general public is not likely to be affected. This condition is an improvement from past days, in which air quality was considered very unhealthy or hazardous. Residents with sensitivities in the affected area are encouraged to close their windows overnight until smoke lifts in the morning.
Today, crews will continue to secure the southwestern edge near Cañon Plaza using controlled hand ignitions to remove excess fuels from the area. Firefighters will begin to assess rehabilitation needs and repair the landscape to remove evidence of firefighting activities. Crews will continue to patrol and monitor the areas surrounding the fire to ensure the perimeter is secure.
A closure order for those lands located within the boundaries of the Bonita Fire Area remains in effect until further notice. For information regarding the Forest closure, contact the El Rito Ranger District at (575) 581-4554.