Start Date: May 22, 2018
Location: NE of Eagle Peak Lookout, Gila NF
Fuels: Timber (litter, grass, and understory)
Total personnel: 529
General Information: High winds are carrying embers ahead of the fire, causing spot fires over containment lines. This brings challenges to firefighters as they must not only work to contain the main fire but also patrol for and contain spot fires.
Fire Operations: Dry fuels and hot dry winds challenged suppression efforts yesterday. On the west side, the fire has crossed the Eagle Peak Lookout road to the west. This is in the area of the 1994 HB Fire. Due to the large number of tree hazards in this area, it was not possible for firefighters to suppress the fire that crossed the Eagle Peak Lookout road. Fire managers are considering an alternative control option to contain the fire on the ridge above the road. Near Cox Canyon, crews are successfully conducting burning operations at the control lines, keeping up with the main fire as it backs towards the north fork of Negrito Creek. The burning operations in Sawmill Canyon are still holding. Crews have contained dozens of spot fires across their control lines. Crews will continue to hold burning operations today with plans to finish the operations tonight. The fire has crossed the Long Canyon ridge to the south and is slowly beginning to back downhill into the Moraga Canyon. Aircraft resources are being used to slow fire progress into Moraga Canyon, allowing firefighters to finish the Sawmill Canyon firing operations before moving into Moraga Canyon.
Fire Safety Awareness: Relative humidity is an important factor in fighting wildland fire. When the relative humidity is low, the moisture in the fuel is readily evaporated as it rises to the surface of the fuel, allowing the fuel to ignite and burn faster. Many of the fuels in the forest are currently drier than the lumber you would buy at your local hardware store. Fires in the forest will ignite and spread rapidly under current conditions. For information on current fire restrictions, please visit https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/gila/alerts-notices/?aid=46143 .
Fire Weather: Today’s temperatures will be higher than yesterday. While the winds will diminish slightly, gusty winds will continue throughout the day and into the early evening. Relative humidity will remain low in the single-digit range.
Closures: The area around the fire remains closed for public safety. Roadblocks have been set up by local law enforcement. In support of this closure, the Continental Divide Trail has been rerouted around the fire closures. The trail reroute map is available at https://bit.ly/2GRESFw. More closure information is available at https://bit.ly/2LvwKhN .
Smoke Situation: Today, winds from a more westerly direction should clear the air in the Albuquerque area. Smoke will affect Datil, Magdalena, the Very Large Array area, Socorro, and Truth or Consequences this afternoon into this evening. Late night and early morning “drainage” smoke will be present in Reserve, Frisco, and the ranch lands south and east of the fire. Winds from the south on Saturday may bring more smoke into the area from fires in Mexico.
Even when smoke levels are not high, smoke-sensitive individuals and people with respiratory or heart disease are encouraged to take precautionary measures. For more information on air quality and health impacts due to wildfire smoke, please visit the New Mexico Department of Health website at https://nmtracking.org/fire . Smoke concentration data available at: https://tools.airfire.org/monitoring/v4
Fire Information Links: Fire information can be found at nmfireinfo.com and https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5814/ .
For information on the Gila National Forest, please visit http://www.fs.usda.gov/gila .
Fire Information: (602) 529-5924
Office Hours: 8:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M.