Johnson Fire burns about 85,590 acres in Gila National Forest, 9% contained


NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – The Johnson Fire began on the Wilderness Ranger District in the Gila National Forest on Thursday, May 20, 2021, near the Johnson Canyon, west of McKenna Park in Catron County.

  • Start Date: May 20, 2021
  • Fire Size: ~85,590 acres
  • Containment: 9%
  • Estimated Containment Date: Thursday, July 15, 2021, approx. 12 a.m.
  • Cause: Lightning
  • Location: Johnson Canyon, west of McKenna Park and 11 miles west of Gila Cliff Dwellings in the Wilderness Ranger District of Catron County, NM
  • Resources:  1 Interagency Hotshot crews, 1 handcrew module, 1 Type 2 Initial Attack crew, 8 Type 6 Engines, 3 Water Tenders, and 2 Type 3 Helicopters.
  • Total Personnel: 153
  • Structures Threatened: Values at risk include White Creek Cabin and sensitive aquatic species in Gila Wilderness
  • Structures Burned: No
  • Evacuations: No
  • Area Vegetation: Ponderosa pine and grass
  • Ownership: Unknown

Fire crews are continuing to engaged on the northwest side improving lines and conducting structure assessments in the Willow Creek area. Crews will also mop-up small heat signatures on the northeast corner of the fire.

On June 18, active backing fire behavior was observed southwest of the Mogollon Baldy lookout. Officials say the southeast corner of the fire remains active as it begins to approach the Gila River. Crews are continuing to connect the active fire into the old burn area from last year’s Good Fire.

Additionally, the Gila National Forest has issued Forest Order 03-06-05-20-16 as of June 7, 2021, at 8 a.m. which will remain in effect until December 31, 2021, or until it’s rescinded. The order prohibits access to a large area of the Gila Wilderness including trails to protect the public during the Johnson Fire suppression activities.

The following is a map of the Johnson Fire Temporary Area Closure issued on June 7, 2021:

If you are unsure of trails or want to verify where you can go within the boundaries of the Gila Wilderness you are asked to call 575-536-2250 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. or 575-519-0103 anytime before 9 p.m.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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