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Black Fire

Unit Information

Gila National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
3005 E. Camino del Bosque
Silver City, NM 88061

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Incident Contact

Black Fire Information
Phone: 575-249-1264
Hours: Daily, 8am - 8pm

Highlighted Activity

05/23/2022 Black Fire Daily Update 5/23/22
 Cloud Cover to Cause Increased Smoke on Black Fire Community Meeting will be held tonight at the Winston Country Church at 7pm Daily Update 5/23/2022  Acres: 146,679 acres  Location: 31 miles.
News - 05/23/2022
Map of Black Fire for 5/23/22Image options: [ Full Size ]

Cloud Cover to Cause Increased Smoke on Black Fire

Community Meeting will be held tonight at the Winston Country Church at 7pm

Daily Update 5/23/2022

Acres: 146,679 acres
Location: 31 miles NW of Truth or Consequences
Containment: 8%
Personnel: 661
Start Date: Friday, May 13, 2022
Cause: Human caused, under investigation
Fuels: Timber and tall grass
Structures Lost: 2

Announcement: There will be a community meeting tonight, in person, at 7 pm at the Winston Country Church, 2899 Highway 52, Winston, NM, 87943. Please bring your own chair if you would like to sit during the meeting. 

Overview:  The Black Fire is expected to be especially active on the northeast and southern sides of the fire today, causing an increase in smoke that will linger in central and southern New Mexico and impact air quality in nearby communities. Firefighters have been working to suppress this fire since it was discovered, and are building fireline to contain the Black Fire as efficiently and safely as possible.

Fire Update: Yesterday, the Black Fire was less active in the morning due to lower temperatures and partial cloud cover. However, as temperatures increased, the fire became very active where fuels and topography aligned, causing the fire to grow an additional 16,000+ acres. Firefighters worked to prep fireline north and south of the fire along roadways. They also conducted firing operations north of the fire around private inholdings to protect structures and try to stop fire progression. On the southeastern part of the fire, helicopters coordinated with ground crews to do helicopter water bucket drops to protect the Hermosa area.  

Today, fire will continue its progression to the north, east and south driven by heavy fuels and topography. Fire is expected to show consistent southward spread in the 2010 Aspen and 2013 Silver Fires burn scars. Slightly warmer temperatures and southwest winds of 20 mph are anticipated. Firefighters will conduct firing operations on the southwest side of the fire near Black Canyon to slow progression. North of the fire, crews continue work to protect values like homes and infrastructure in the Turkey Creek area, as well as prep and construct fireline. Crews remain in the Hermosa area today, strengthening firelines north of the community. Structure assessments and identification of values at risk are ongoing.

Evacuations:  In coordination with Grant, Catron, and Sierra counties, the following areas are under evacuation status as of 3 pm on Sunday, May 22:  

GO – Area 1:  New:  Starting from Taylor Peak northeast to Kline Mountain, then east to Turkey Creek, following the Bear Creek Road southeast, tying back into the north end of Area 3. The Area 1 portion, including Taylor Ranch and Alexander Peak, remains in GO.  The line extends north along the Titanic Road, then east approximately eight miles before heading southeast, tying back into Area 2. The rest of Area 2 remains in Go.  The rest of Area 1 remains in Set, and encompasses parts of Catron and Sierra Counties, including Beaverhead and Poverty Creek.  

GO – Area 6: No Change:  Area 6 east of Forest Road 150 is now in Go.  The area west of Forest Road 150 remains in set.  This area is in Grant County.   

GO – Area 4: No Change: Areas in Sierra County, including Hermosa and Mud Spring Mountain.    

GO – Area 5: No Change:  Areas in Grant County, including 150 corridor 1.5 south of Tom Moore Trailhead.   

GO – Area 7: Change: Area 7 east of Forest Road 150, including the Continental Divide Scenic Trail.   

SET – Area 7: Change: Area 7 west of Forest Road 150, including the Rocky Canyon Campground.  

SET – Area 3: No Change:  Areas in Sierra County, including Winston and Chloride.   

SET – Area 8: New:  Area beginning at the south end of Area 7, four miles south, then east approximately 27 miles. The area now includes Victorio Park Mountain, Flagpole Mountain, and Pack Trail. 

The sheriffs of Grant, Catron, and Sierra counties use the Ready, Set, Go evacuation program. For details visit https://www.emnrd.nm.gov/sfd/fire-prevention-programs/ready-set-go-new-mexico/

Weather: Southwest winds are expected today at around 20 mph and will shift to the west/northwest on Tuesday. Relative humidity levels will be around 10%. Southwest winds will return to the fire area by Thursday. A mixture of cloud and sun are expected each day through the week. Temperatures will increase slightly as the week goes on.   

Road Closures: Highway 59, is closed from the 59/52 intersections west to the 59/150 intersection.  Forest Service Road 150 is closed on North Star Mesa at the Junction of NM Highway 35. I-25 and other state highways remain open. 

Smoke: Heavy smoke is expected over the next 48 hours due to cloud cover that will hamper smoke from lifting and dispersing. Winds will blow smoke to the northeast affecting Truth or Consequences, Winston, Magdalena and Socorro with periods of moderate to unhealthy air quality depending on the area. South of the fire will see good air quality for most of the day. Visit https://outlooks.wildlandfiresmoke.net/outlook/63a6f2d8? to view your area’s air quality and specific smoke forecast.  

Aviation: Airtankers, helicopters, and water scoopers are assisting firefighters’ suppression efforts. There is a Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) over the Black Fire to allow official aviation resources to operate safely. 

Fire Restrictions: The Gila National Forest entered Stage 2 Fire Restrictions at 8 a.m., Thursday, May 19, 2022. Visit https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/gila/alerts-notices/?aid=73002. The New Mexico State Forester has implemented statewide fire restrictions. Information is available at https://www.emnrd.nm.gov/sfd/find-current-fire-restrictions/.   

More Information: 

Inciweb: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/8103/ 

New Mexico Fire information: https://nmfireinfo.com/ 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GilaNForest 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/gilanforest  

Basic Information

Current as of
Incident TypeWildfire
CauseUndetermined
Date of OriginFriday May 13th, 2022 approx. 09:30 PM
Location24 miles N of Mimbres
Incident CommanderMike Spilde, SWA IMT 5
Incident DescriptionWildfire
Coordinates33.204 latitude, -108.059 longitude

Current Situation

Total Personnel646
Size146,679 Acres
Percent of Perimeter Contained11%
Estimated Containment DateThursday July 07th, 2022 approx. 12:00 AM
Fuels Involved

Timber

Chaparral

Tall Grass

Fuels consist of pine and mixed-conifer stands at higher elevations and within drainages. Pinyon/juniper populates mesa tops and transition zones to lower elevations, with high desert grass, creosote, and mesquite fuels in lower elevations to the east. Grass loads are higher than normal due to robust monsoons in 2021. Previous fire footprints are actively carrying fire in dead/down and grass fuels. Thus far, oak and aspen regeneration stands in these areas are not stalling fire spread. ERCs and BI values are setting all-time high values.

Significant Events

Active

Uphill Runs

Flanking

Spotting

The Black Fire showed Active fire behavior today with increased activity on the NE and SW corners. Alignment of drought stressed fuels and topography continues to be a primary contributor of Active fire behavior.

Outlook

Planned Actions

A Red Flag Warning has been issued for Tuesday from 1200 2000, with warm temperatures, low RH values, and wind gusts to 32 forecast. Crews will continue prepping and constructing direct and indirect control lines, and using point protection tactics to protect private property, critical infrastructure and other values at risk. Hand and aerial ignitions will be used where needed to strengthen protection of values at risk and burn out fuels between constructed firelines and the main fire. Structure triage assessments and identification of values at risk will continue.

Projected Incident Activity

12 hours: Fire will continue to progress to the NE and NW off Franks Mountain through active fire in pine and conifer litter toward the northern containment lines. The south flank will actively back and flank through previous fire footprints.

24 hours: Active to Extreme fire behavior is expected in short uphill runs as weather gets hotter and drier. Complex topography on the NE will support spread towards containment lines while south spread burns deeper into the 2013 Silver Fire.

48 hours: Fire will continue progression to the north, east and south driven by live fuels and topography. Active fire behavior with upslope pushes and passive crown fire will continue. Fire is expected to continue spreading southward in the 2010 Aspen and 2013 Silver Fire

72 hours: Fire spread to the north may reach containment lines. Fire activity along the southern perimeter will continue to spread through dead/down materials in previous fire footprints. Hot and dry conditions will continue to increase receptiveness of fuels in these areas.

Anticipated after 72 hours: Hotter and drier weather will contribute to active fire behavior with longer burn periods and increasing intensities where higher elevation fuels exist. Grass fuels will see reduced impacts of RH overnight and will actively support fire behavior earlier and later in the shift.

Remarks

A community fire meeting will be held at 1900 Monday night at the church in Winston.

A Black Fire Emergency Closure Order is in effect for areas of the Wilderness Ranger District. The identified areas, and roads and trails therein, are closed to public access due to active wildfires and extreme fire danger. The Gila National Forest has also implemented forest-wide Stage II fire restrictions. For more information, visit

https://www.fs.usda.gov/gila

Evacuation information can be found at www.nmfireinfo.com

Road and trail closures are in effect throughout the fire area. Highway 59 is closed from the 59/52 intersection west to the 59/150 intersection.

A Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) has been put in place over the fire area. Visit

https://www.tfr.faa.gov for more information. Drone flights are also prohibited over the fire area.

Current Weather

Weather Concerns

Strong inversions this morning allowed temperatures to drop low

this morning in certain areas. The weather station at 6,700 feet

dipped to 37F, while the higher weather station dropped to 51

degrees. An area of high clouds moved over southwestern New Mexico during the predawn hours and morning.

A large trough of low pressure will remain over the Western States through Wednesday. A disturbance will rotate around the main trough and will bring increasing west to northwest winds on Tuesday. A Red Flag Warning is in effect for Tuesday. Breezy west southwest winds will return to the fire area on Friday through the weekend. Variable high clouds are expected each day through the week. High temperatures will warm a few degrees Wednesday through the weekend as high temperatures will be 5 to 10 degrees above average.