Weather delays suppression repair on the Black Fire
June 23, 2022 Daily Update
Acres: 325,133 acres
Total Personnel: 640
Cause: Human-caused, under investigation
Start Date: Friday, May 13, 2022
Location: 31 miles northwest of Truth or Consequences, NM
Fuels: Timber and tall grass
Highlights: Fire suppression repair has been hindered by significant rainfall received over the past three days. Standing water has been observed along the fire boundary with many drainages and waterways running from the storms in the interior canyons, including Las Palomas, Animas, and Percha Creek.
The Black Fire Emergency Closure remains in effect on National Forest System lands around the Black Fire area. Additional information is available at: https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/gila/alerts-notices/?aid=73435.
New Mexico Highway 152 is now open from milepost 40 (Kingston) to milepost 15 (San Lorenzo). Please continue to use caution in the area and be mindful of increased fire traffic.
Operations: Due to excessive rain received over the fire, roads into Hermosa on the eastern fire perimeter are being assessed to determine if repair crews can safely access this area. On the north side, firefighters are backhauling portable water tanks called "pumpkins," and cutting branches in small lengths before scattering them evenly over the ground. In order to backhaul equipment from the South Fork Lodge, crews may use a helicopter to retrieve this firefighting equipment and supplies prior to the arrival of more rains. Crews are repairing handlines with the assistance of an excavator along the switchbacks on Highway 152. Due to hazardous and muddy conditions created by the rain, fire crews have been unable to access handlines on the southern side of the fire. Scouting continues in this area to evaluate repair needs for chipping and scattering. Hand and dozer lines have been repaired on the southwestern side of the fire which received a substantial amount of rain after several days of storms bypassing this area. After the storms, a hotshot crew responded to a small ¼-acre fire involving a single tree that was struck by lightning. No significant heat has been observed in the fire area, and minimal spread is expected with the repeated rain each day.
Weather: Monsoon moisture remains in place through Sunday for a daily chance of scattered showers and thunderstorms mainly in the afternoon and evening hours. The stronger thunderstorms will be capable of producing strong outflow winds and heavy rainfall. Warmer high temperatures are expected today and then remain nearly steady through Sunday. Humidity values will gradually lower through the upcoming weekend, especially at night.
Evacuations: All evacuations and evacuation preparedness levels have been lifted for communities in Sierra, Grant, and Catron Counties. The real-time, interactive evacuation map has been revised to reflect this change.
Closures: The Black Fire Emergency Closure remains in effect on National Forest System lands around the Black Fire area. Additional information is available at: https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/gila/alerts-notices/?aid=73435. Highway 152 remains open from milepost 40 (Kingston) to milepost 15 (San Lorenzo). Please continue to use caution in the area and be mindful of increased fire traffic.
Restrictions: Know Before You Go! The public can obtain current state and federal fire restriction information across New Mexico at NMFire Info | Fire Restrictions or NM Forestry Division state-wide fire restrictions.
Safety: The health and safety of firefighters and the public is always the top priority. Members of the public should stay away from Black Fire operations. A Temporary Flight Restriction is in place over the Black Fire area, which includes unmanned aircraft, or drones. More information on the dangers drones pose to wildland firefighting aircraft and personnel on the ground can be found at: https://uas.nifc.gov/.
Smoke: Smoke has become less visible as rainstorms have moved into the Black Fire area. An interactive smoke map at https://fire.airnow.gov/ allows you to zoom into your area to see the latest smoke conditions.
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