SILVER CITY, NM, August 11, 2023 – The Gila National Forest has had a very active fire season so far this summer, with six fires larger than 1,000 acres currently active. Mountain areas of the Gila National Forest have received rain over the past several days, helping to slow the growth of all wildfires across the forest.
Wilderness Ranger District:
The Turkey Fire, about 9 miles northeast of Cliff, New Mexico, and is still the most active fire currently on the forest. It is holding at 5,200 acres and 0% contained. A total of 141 personnel are assigned, including one Hotshot crew, three type 2 hand crews, three Type 6 engines, one dozer, and one water tender. Fire behavior is minimal with increased cloud cover, higher relative humidity, and recent rains. Some residual heat and smoke remain at the southeast end of the fire. A dozer is working on improving Forest Road 282 to assist firefighter ingress and egress while crews work on clearing along roads and trails that may serve as containment features under a future drying trend.
The Porcupine Fire and Prior Fire are both exhibiting minimal fire behavior and transitioned to local management under Type 4 Incident Commander Aaron Huerta today. Porcupine Fire is 3,478 acres and 85% contained. Prior Fire is 12,772 acres and 0% contained. Due to minimal fire behavior and continued rain forecast, fire crews were pulled off of these backcountry wildfires to assist with containment efforts on the Turkey Fire. Porcupine and Prior fires will be monitored by lookouts and aircraft for signs of activity.
Reserve Ranger District:
The Dark, Divide, and Pasture fires have all received significant precipitation over the past several days, resulting in minimal fire behavior. All three fires will transition today to local management under a Type 4 incident commander. On the 4,246-acre Dark Fire, crews will continue to prepare and construct containment features along the most active, eastern flank of the fire as they mop up and secure containment line along other portions of the fire perimeter. Dark Fire is 0% contained. The 26,514-acre Divide Fire is 94% contained, with 100% containment expected by end of shift today. Crews are completing mop up of heat sources around private property while interior pockets of unburned fuels continue to be consumed. Smoke from interior areas of the fire can be expected, especially subject to a future drying trend. The 10,500-acre Pasture Fire is 50% contained, with 100% containment expected by end of shift today. Crews will continue to hold, improve, and patrol existing containment lines and repair operations will begin today.
The weather forecast calls for increasing coverage of afternoon and evening rain showers and thunderstorms Friday and Saturday. Smoke impacts are expected to be minimal and primarily localized to areas near fire perimeters. The forecast area will see “good” air quality with hazy skies for the next several days. A gradual warming and drying trend is forecast to return beginning next week.
For information about health impacts from smoke and steps for minimizing health impacts, visit New Mexico Department of Health or AQI & Health | AirNow.gov/. For local air quality information in real time, visit Air Now.gov. For more information contact Maribeth Pecotte at 575-388-8211 or Maribeth.Pecotte@usda.gov.