El Malpais National Monument
National Park Service
1900 E. Santa Fe Ave.
Grants, NM 87020
Final Lava 18 Fire Update Unless Significant Events Occur
Grants, NM – The lightning-ignited Lava 18 Fire is approximately 2,070 acres (858 ac on the National Park Service (NPS) El Malpais National Monument and 1,212 acres on the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) El Malpais National Conservation area). This will be the final update unless significant events occur.
The fire transitioned to a smaller, local Type 4 organization on Monday afternoon, September 9. Three engines continue to monitor and patrol existing roads, trails, and handlines along the fire perimeter and adjacent to private lands and natural and cultural values at risk. Fire managers will continue to monitor the fire where it is playing its natural role in the ecosystem and take action as needed to protect private land and sensitive natural and cultural resources in the area as needed.
Higher relative humidity and rainfall received over the fire area earlier this week significantly reduced fire behavior and smoke production. Limited fire growth is expected unless significant drying occurs. Pockets of heat, especially in heavy dead and down vegetation on the forest floor, will continue to smolder until extinguished naturally by significant precipitation.
This fire is playing an important role maintaining a healthy forest and ensuring the resiliency of this fire dependent landscape. It is creating a mosaic of burned and unburned vegetation, which increases habitat diversity and breaks up continuous fuels on the forest floor (branches, fallen trees, etc.) which can help limit or slow the intensity and spread of large wildfires and associated smoke in the future.
The Lava 18 Fire is located approximately 19 miles southwest of Grants, NM. Cooperators include New Mexico State Forestry, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the U.S. Forest service. The lightning-ignited fire was reported on August 22, 2019. Vegetation in the area consists mostly of ponderosa pine and mixed grasses, with some Douglas fir, piñon, and juniper in places.
Information on air quality and protecting your health by using the 5-3-1 visibility method can be found online at the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) Environmental Public Health Tracking (EPHT) website at https://nmtracking.org/fire.
|Current as of|
|Date of Origin||Thursday August 22nd, 2019 approx. 12:00 PM|
|Location||19 miles southwest of Grants, NM|
|Coordinates||34.933 latitude, -108.05 longitude|
Vegetation in the area consists mostly of ponderosa pine and mixed grasses, with some Douglas fir, piñon, and juniper in places.
Fire managers note that this is an opportunity to reduce the natural fuels in an area that has not burned since El Malpais National Monument was designated in 1987. A primary objective of managing this fire is to improve forest health by reducing the build-up of vegetation that can fuel a wildfire. Fire plays a natural role at El Malpais National Monument and helps ensure the resiliency of this fire dependent ecosystem.
Over 100 years of fire suppression has occurred on most public lands throughout the western United States, which has greatly affected forest health and wildlife. Without the natural process of fire, southwestern forests and woodlands have become overgrown and vulnerable to drought, insects, and threats of catastrophic wildfire. Restoration of forest and woodland ecosystems using appropriate management actions helps to re-establish the natural fire regime and benefits native plant and animal communities while at the same time protecting visitors, facilities, and resources within and adjacent to the park from unwanted fire effects from wildfires.