SOUTHWEST AREA INCIDENT MANAGEMENT TEAM
Team 4 - Dave Bales - Incident Commander
Incident Management Team transitions control of the Bonita Fire
June 26, 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: 240
Tomorrow, June 27, at 7:00 a.m., Dave Bales’ Type 2 Incident Management Team (IMT) will transition management of the Bonita Fire to a local Type 4 organization of approximately 50 personnel. A Type 4 Incident Commander, a Type 2 Initial Attack crew, and four engines will remain assigned to the incident. The primary objective and management strategy remains full suppression of the fire.
“Through the successful management of the Bonita Fire, we were able to protect many important values on the Carson National Forest. The El Rito Ranger District should be commended for the management of this fire and the decisions that were made prior to the Team’s arrival,” stated IMT Deputy Incident Commander Edward Hiatt.
A 100-foot buffer around the fire’s edge has been mopped up and thoroughly patrolled to ensure there is no hidden heat in the ashes. Last night, an infrared reconnaissance flight identified only six smoldering hotspots across the entire 7,490-acre fire area, located well within the 100-foot buffer. Small isolated puffs of smoke are expected to appear over the next few days as fuels are slowly consumed. Crews will continue to work throughout the day to ensure the perimeter of the fire is secure.
The Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) Team has completed their surveys of the Bonita Fire. The Team is now working to finalize their assessment of burn severity and provide recommendations for future restoration actions. The Bonita Fire was predominantly a backing fire of low to moderate intensity as a result of starting at higher elevations and working downslope. The fire was fuel-driven by the heavy presence of forest litter, which served as the carrier to move fire slowly across the terrain. This low to moderate intensity fire plays an important role in the management of healthy forest ecosystems. Historically, fire has played a frequent role in reducing hazardous fuels, enriching the soil and recycling nutrients. The Bonita Fire will ultimately provide many long-term resource benefits to the landscape, and will also provide a buffer of protection in the future for those communities near the burn area.
The Bonita Fire temporary closure order will remain in place until lifted by the El Rito Ranger District, Carson National Forest. The Incident Command Post located at the El Rito Elementary will close tomorrow, June 27. Inciweb (https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5235/) will remain the source for fire information, along with the Carson National Forest Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/CarsonNF) and Twitter (@CarsonNF). For more information, please contact the El Rito Ranger District at 575-581-4554 (Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.).