Fire in Bonita Canyon grows

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A lightning-sparked fire located 19 miles north of El Rito in Bonita Canyon is growing in size. Fire crews are working to confine the fire, which was five percent contained on June 12.

The wildfire, which was reported June 3, increased in size to approximately 280 acres, driven by wind and dry air. It is burning in a remote area of the El Rito Ranger District of the Carson National Forest.

Fire managers on the Carson National Forest are inviting the public to a community meeting at 6 p.m. Monday, (June 12) at the Vallecitos Volunteer Fire Department, County Road 247, House No. 1540, Vallecitos. Fire officials will discuss the progression of the Bonita Fire.

As of Thursday (June 8), fire managers were considering using the natural-start fire to achieve multiple, ecologically beneficial objectives on a 4,600-acre section of the landscape.

But as of Monday (June 12), fire managers are still evaluating whether or not to use the fire for those purposes because of a "wind event" with weather conditions generally hot and dry with low humidity, according to the Bonita Fire Information Hotline, (575) 758-6345.

Smoke from Bonita Fire may be visible from the communities of Tres Piedras, Cañon Plaza, Vallecitios, La Madera, and El Rito; smoke was seen from Taos, also. Smoke may continue to be visible. Information on air quality and protecting your health can be found online at the New Mexico Department of Health's website at https://nmtracking.org/fire.

A closure order is in effect for the area around the fire. "Portions of land located within and adjacent to Township 27 N, Range 7 E, Section 33, as described here wholly contained within the boundaries of the Bonita Fire Area, from the junction of FR274/42, and FR42 to the junction of FR42F, FR42F to the Rio Vallecitos, Rio Vallecitos to FR274, FR274 to junction of FR274/42, including trails, parking areas and roads," according to a release from the Carson National Forest. See the attached map for a more detailed outline of the closure area.

The Continental Divide Trail is not within the closure area, however, smoke may impact the trail.

For fire information,call the Bonita Information Line at (575) 581-4554 during normal business hours, or visit the Carson National Forest Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/CarsonNF or Twitter @CarsonNF.

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