Monument Fire on Sacramento Ranger District

CLOUDCROFT, NM – June 4, 2017 – The Monument Fire on the Sacramento Ranger District was detected on June 2nd at 5:41 pm.  The fire is located about 12 miles southwest of Weed, NM, along the ridge of the Sacramento Mountains, elevation 8,521 ft. The fire is in a remote location with limited access and travel time to the fire (initial response) was about 3 ½ hours. When firefighters arrived on scene at dusk, they determined that the fire was caused by lightning and they proceeded with an initial assessment of the area that included:  identifying hazards, fire behavior, weather conditions, fuel type and values at risk.

The Monument Fire is currently being managed under a monitor/confine/point protection strategy (visit fire update on INCIWEB for descriptions of the different strategies). Current size is 10 acres. Firefighting resources assigned include:  4 FS engines, 1 dozer and overhead (approximately 17 personnel). 

Firefighters are preparing road ways and clearing vegetation for hazard reduction adjacent to identified areas at risk. They are monitoring fire spread and working to protect values at risk.

Wildfire last burned in this area during the Circle Cross fire in the 1950’s. The natural fire frequency of that landscape is in need of fire treatment. Reintroduction of natural fire in the area can provide positive benefits to the landscape.

Efforts will be made to encourage low intensity surface fire to:

  • Reduce potential future severe effects of wildfire that could negatively affect the area and other unintended consequences from wildfire, thus creating a landscape resilient to wildfire disturbance and reduced risk to communities
  • Improve future grazing availability
  • Improve aspen regeneration

Fuels: As the fire burns near the ridgeline atop the mountain range, through this 50+ year-old fire scar, it is currently burning in an area with minimal timber stands, although some Mixed Conifer and decadent Aspen stands are lightly scattered within the area.  Brush and shrubs including Gambel Oak primarily exist on the side slope of the mountain.

Fire Behavior: The fire is mostly terrain driven and is currently creeping and smoldering. With recent rain, fuel moistures are high, keeping fire activity minimal. Most of the fire spread is occurring during the afternoon sunshine.  Smoke may be visible from Sacramento, Weed and Timberon over the next few days. Smoke may settle into lower elevations at night.

Values at Risk: Grazing allotments and private land are in the vicinity of the wildfire area. Mexican Spotted Owl and Goshawk habitat are also present on the fringes of the area. Firefighters will focus on constructing indirect firelines to keep the fire from affecting these sites.

 

Closure Order:  A Closure Order (08-283) is currently in place for the Monument Fire area. (please view Closure Order attachments included in this email notification).

Firefighter and public safety is always the priority in managing all wildland fires.

Regarding smoke, in the event of a prescribed fire or wildfire: If visibility becomes lower because of smoke, please visit the NM Department of Health’s smoke page:  https://nmtracking.org/fire

Fire updates for the MONUMENT FIRE are posted on INCIWEB:  https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5207