FIRE WEATHER WATCH IN EFFECT FOR WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON FOR THE GILA FOREST, BLACK RANGE, AND FOR SOUTHWEST NEW MEXICO.. .A warm dry airmass continue to sit across the southwest U.S. On Wednesday an approaching upper level storm system will increase afternoon winds. With min RH's near 10% and southwest winds near 20 mph, we will see low end Red Flag conditions Wednesday afternoon and early evening for parts of southwest New Mexico and the Gila Region. Conditions will improve after sunset when temperatures decrease and winds become light and terrain- driven. Our warm dry weather will continue through the end of the week, but winds look to stay below critical levels.
...RED FLAG WARNING IN EFFECT FROM NOON TO 9 PM MDT WEDNESDAY FOR
WARM, DRY, AND WINDY CONDITIONS...
The National Weather Service in El Paso Tx/Santa Teresa has
issued a Red Flag Warning, which is in effect from noon to 9 PM
MDT Wednesday. The Fire Weather Watch is no longer in effect.
* AFFECTED AREA...Fire weather zones 110 and 111. This includes
the Gila region and the Southwest Deserts and Bootheel of
southwest New Mexico.
* WIND...Southwest at 15 to 20 mph with gusts 25 to 30 mph.
* HUMIDITY...Minimum values between 8 and 14 percent.
* IMPACTS...any fires that develop will likely spread rapidly.
Outdoor burning is not recommended.
A Red Flag Warning means that critical fire weather conditions
are either occurring now, or will shortly. A combination of
strong winds, low relative humidity, and warm temperatures can
contribute to extreme fire behavior.
Update May 29, 2023
Firefighters continue to actively monitor the fire and are strategically initiating burnout operations as needed to protect Double Springs Ranch and allotment fences. As the Pass Fire continues its trek across the landscape, firefighters assess specific areas that require pre-treatment to modify the fire’s intensity as it reaches identified values-at-risk. Fuels, terrain and weather dictate the fire’s spread. Crews are keeping pace with the fire and ensuring that pre-determined objectives are met. Features like roads and trails can act as barriers to fire spread. “The fire effects are being constantly monitored and the Pass Fire is burning naturally in this fire-dependent ecosystem. We appreciate the support of the local communities who are closely monitoring the Pass Fire, as well,” said Pete Valenzuela, Incident Commander.
Weather: High temperatures will be near normal, 80’s to 90’s; winds are expected to increase ahead of a low front which could result in critical fire weather on Wednesday afternoon. Winds are expected to taper off on Thursday. Potential chance for rainshowers arriving this weekend.
Closures: There are no road closures at this time, however firing operations will be intermittently occurring over the next few days along Highway 59 as the fire continues to spread under current fuel and weather conditions.
By Lynn Janes
On March 25, 2023, the commission held a regular meeting at the City Annex Building.
The meeting started with Alex Brown, Silver City town manager, calling the meeting to order and leading the Pledge of Allegiance.
Commission members in attendance, Grant County Commissioner Eloy Medina, Bayard Mayor Chon Fierro,, Santa Clara Village Administrator Sheila Hudman, Hurley Mayor Pro Tem Richard Maynes and Brown.
The commission approved the agenda.
The commission approved the minutes from the March 16, 2023, meeting.
Karl Pennock, RCAC (rural community assistance corporation) said he couldn't do much with a financial analysis until he knew what funding they had to work with, and he also needs the preliminary engineering report. He would also need a snapshot of the utilities' financial operations from each member to figure out share costs.
Greening up of grasses and other vegetation produces minimal fire behavior
TRUTH OR CONSESQUENCES, NM, May 28, 2023 – The Pass Fire on the Gila National Forest, Black Range Ranger District has grown to approximately 9,804 acres since it was ignited by lightning strike May 17. The Gila Las Cruces Zone Type 3 Team, led by Incident Commander Pete Valenzuela assumed command yesterday.
The low to moderate intensity of the Pass Fire allows firefighters time to get out ahead to assess values at risk and prepare holding features and protection before the fire’s arrival. Yesterday, a helispot at Black Mountain was cleared of encroaching vegetation and the Black Mountain Lookout’s cabin was wrapped.
“We’re seeing some really good fire effects, consuming dead grass and pine litter, with heavy dead and down fuels burning down to ash,” said Valenzuela.
Updated forest order protects public access to public lands; conserves natural resources
SILVER CITY, NM, May 28, 2023 – The Gila National Forest has updated its forest order limiting length of stay on the entire forest to 14 days out of any 30 consecutive days. The purpose of the order is to protect natural resources from degradation due to long-term use and to maximize the availability of camping areas for all recreational visitors.
“Long term use of campsites harms wildlife habitats and watersheds by compacting soils, which damages the roots of plants, contributing to lost vegetation. Erosion of soil and exposed human waste pollutes local waterways,” said Gila National Forest Supervisor Camille Howes. “This order provides a chance for periods of rest, allowing soils and vegetation to recover between uses. It also provides management consistency between forests, which helps visitors know what to expect.”
Fire allowed to play its natural role in maintaining forest and prairie ecosystems
TRUTH OR CONSESQUENCES, NM, May 27, 2023 – The Pass Fire on the Gila National Forest, Black Range Ranger District has grown to approximately 8,261 acres over the past 10 days. The Gila Las Cruces Zone Type 3 Team, led by Incident Commander Pete Valenzuela assumed command this morning.
The fire is located south of New Mexico Highway 59, about 1 mile west of Wolf Hollow Campground, and along the northern Gila Wilderness boundary. Camping is not recommended at Wolf Hollow due to the likelihood of fire reaching the area and heavy localized firefighter activity. Fire is progressing to the south, east, and west, consuming mostly down logs, dead grass, and pine needles beneath a ponderosa pine-dominated forest canopy.
One hundred people are currently working the Pass Fire, including a large number of youths who are supporting the fire at the Incident Command Post, gaining work experience and exposure to public land management. A Job Corps kitchen crew began serving meals this morning and camp yurts are being maintained by a contracted youth crew out of California. Fire crews are cutting back grass and removing surface fuels to protect range and other infrastructure. A Helitack crew will begin cleaning up a helispot on Black Mountain in preparation for structure protection of Black Mountain Lookout.