June 25, 2012, Silver City, NM- Afternoon storms that produced dry lightning over the Gila National Forest sparked 5 new wildfires, keeping fire personnel busy over the course of the weekend. “This is what we typically see this time of year on the Gila,” says Gabe Holguin, Fire Staff Officer for the Gila National Forest. “As our monsoon season begins to set up, we can expect afternoon storms and dry lightning.”
The Copperas Fire, near Copperas Peak, was reported by a local resident shortly after 3:00 pm on Friday. Quemado Engine 632 and Gila Helitack successfully contained the ½ acre fire by 6:30 pm. The cause was determined to be a lightning strike.
The Coyote Fire, on State land near Coyote Peak south of the plains of San Augustin, was reported by a Silver City Hotshot on Friday just before 5:00 pm. State Engine 21 had the fire lined and contained at .2 acres by 9:26 pm. The cause was determined to be a lightining strike.
The Diamond Fire was reported by the Lookout Mountain Fire Tower at approximately 1:40 pm, Saturday. Helicopter 305, the Gila Helitack, the Snake River Valley 20-person handcrew from the Nez-Perce/Clearwater National Forests, and fire personnel from the Wilderness Ranger District responded quickly and contained the fire at 20 acres. The cause was determined to be a lightning strike. The Diamond Fire was controlled today at 10:57 am.
The Corral Fire, in Heffner Canyon just east of the Mimbres River was also reported Saturday. The Gila Smokejumpers responded along with Helicopter 305, it’s helitack crew and local fire personnel from the Wilderness Ranger District contained the fire at 6:00 pm that evening after it grew to 20 acres, the largest of this weekends fires. The cause was determined to be a lightning strike. The Corral Fire was controlled today at 12:11 pm.
The Cox Fire, on the east side of the Tularosa Mountains near Dutchman Springs was reported by Gila Aerial Detection aircraft and received 8 Gila Smokejumpers, Helicopter 305 and Reserve Engine 661 who continue to work towards containment. Current estimated size is 3.6 acres. The cause was determined to be a lightning strike.
Unfortunately, one human -caused fire was reported near Elk Springs and is currently under investigation. A few abandoned campfires were discovered over the weekend. Fire Prevention personnel would like to remind forest visitors of the fire restrictions currently in place. Campfires are allowed only in designated recreation areas in Forest Service provided metal fire pits and grills. Do not leave any fire unattended and leave your campfire cold to the touch before you depart. Elevated Law Enforcement patrols and citations will continue through the duration of the fire restriction period.
Please call the Gila National Forest at 575-388-8201 for further information.