When lightning ignited the Whiskey fire at El Malpais National Monument on Friday, July 18, 2014, fire managers decided to manage the fire for increased ecosystem resilience and reduced fuel loads that can lessen the risk of future catastrophic wildfires.
The fire was located in a remote area of the park, about a half mile northeast of Lost Woman Crater. Vegetation in the area included mixed conifer understory. Fire managers initially monitored the fire as it progressed naturally. The fire burned at low to moderate intensity with flame lengths generally one to two feet in height and isolated single-tree torching. The fire behavior helped reduce the fuel loading in the area by consuming dead and down fuels. This will result in nutrient release that will promote a healthy, more ecologically resilient landscape. The reduced fuel load will also help fire managers control future wildfires that occur when conditions are less favorable.