Firefighters working day and night to contain the Black Fire
Critical fire weather anticipated through the weekend
|Acres: 191,459 acres
Location: 31 miles NW of Truth or Consequences
|Start Date: Friday, May 13, 2022
Cause: Human-caused, under investigation
Fuels: Timber and tall grass
Structures Lost: 2
Overview: The Black Fire has over 200 miles of perimeter and is growing by approximately 15,000 acres a day. This large and complex incident is burning across rugged, challenging terrain and firefighters are working day and night to contain it.
Fire Update: On Thursday, north winds kept the fire active. Overnight, crews focused on the northern perimeter of the fire by conducting firing operations to keep fire south of Highway 59 and west of Highway 52. These operations were conducted by both on-the-ground firefighters and Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) (drones) to assist in reducing severity of the main fire as it progresses through unburned fuels.
Today: Hot, dry, and breezy winds out of the west/southwest will generate an increase in fire activity. There is potential for individual and groups of trees to torch and spot in heavily timbered stands across the Black Fire. On the west side of the fire, crews will continue patrolling and securing containment lines, chipping slash and debris from fireline construction efforts and mopping up. To the north, fire activity will increase as it consumes unburned pockets of fuel. Crews on the east side of the fire will monitor several fingers of fire that have shown limited growth in the past few days and be prepared to keep the fire from moving farther east where needed. On the south end of the fire, crews will continue monitoring and responding to the fire as it burns near and into the Silver Fire scar. Firefighters will continue prepping firelines and aerial resources will assist with water drops when wind and weather conditions are safe to do so.
The Black Fire is actively burning in and around historic wildfire scars such as the Silver Fire, and prescribed fire burn areas. These areas are proving helpful and effective in reducing the intensity of the Black Fire by reducing the availability of fuels.
Weather: Winds across the Black Fire will become stronger out of the southwest by this afternoon with gusts ranging between 20-25mph. Temperatures will range between high 80s to low 90s, with minimum relative humidity falling into the mid to upper single digits. Gusty southwest winds and Red Flag conditions are anticipated through the weekend.
Evacuation Update:The following areas are under evacuation status in coordination with Grant, Catron, and Sierra counties. Please reference the Ready, Set, Go evacuation map.
GO – Area 1: The area runs from Burnt Cabin west along the south side of NM Highway 59 to the junction with Forest Road 150, then south along the east side of Forest Road 150 back to where it connects back to Area 2.
Area 2: Existing area 2 evacuations remain in place.
Area 4: Areas in Sierra County, from the Continental Divide Scenic Trail to just east of the Gila National Forest Boundary, including Hermosa and Mud Spring Mountain.
Area 5: Areas in Grant County, including the Forest Road 150 corridor 1.5 south of Tom Moore Trailhead.
Area 6: East of Forest Road 150 to the Continental Divide Scenic Trail.
Area 7: East of Forest Road 150 to the Continental Divide Scenic Trail.
Area 8: The area east of Forest Road 150 to the Gila National Forest Boundary, including the Continental Divide Scenic Trail, Victorio Park Mountain, Flagpole Mountain, and Pack Trail.
Area 1: Encompassing parts of Catron and Sierra Counties, including Beaverhead and Poverty Creek.
Area 3: Areas in Sierra County, including Winston and Chloride.
Area 6: The area west of Forest Road 150 in Grant County.
Area 7: The area west of Forest Road 150, including the Rocky Canyon Campground.
Area 8: The area west of Forest Road 150, beginning at the south end of Area 7, approximately four miles south, and approximately 9-10 miles west.
Area 9: From the north edge of Area 1, running north along the Forest Boundary four miles, then east approximately 24 miles then south back to the Area 1 set northern edge.
Area 11: The area three miles south of the existing Area 8 on the east side of Forest Road 150. This includes Cooney, McKnight Cabin, the Continental Divide Scenic Trail, and Kelly Mesa.
Area 10: From the northern edge of Area 9, north three miles, then east approximately 24 miles, then south three miles to the edge of Area 9.
Area 11: From the southern edge of Area 8, south three miles and then east to Forest Road 150. This includes V Cross Ranch, Lake Roberts, and Roberts Dip.
The sheriffs of Grant, Catron, and Sierra counties use the Ready, Set, Go evacuation program. For more information, visithttps://www.emnrd.nm.gov/sfd/fire-prevention-programs/ready-set-go-new-mexico/
Road Closures: Highway 59 is closed at the junction with Forest Road 46, near Mud Hole. This allows Poverty Creek residents to access their property. Highway 59 is closed from Mud Hole west to the 59/150 intersection. Forest Road 150 is also closed where it intersects Mimbres Trail. I-25 and other state highways remain open. As a result of continued fire growth, a larger area closure is currently being identified to better ensure fire fighter and public safety.
Smoke: Low lying areas and drainages will see heavy smoke today. Tomorrow’s high winds will help clear smoke by mid-day. Magdalena and Socorro will see good air quality in the morning switching to moderate in the afternoon. Possible periods of USG (unhealthy for sensitive group) later in the afternoon, with light winds out of the west-southwest. Winston, Chloride, and surrounding areas will continue to see unhealthy conditions today with periods of hazardous in the mid-morning hours. Truth or Consequences will see periods of USG late in the day. Caballo will see periods of USG smoke throughout day. Gila Cliff Dwelling may see some periods of moderate and USG smoke with increased fire activity on the southwest part of the fire. Hanover will see USG conditions along the Mimbres river drainage later this afternoon. Silver City will have good air quality for the early am switching to moderate midday.
Aviation Restrictions: Airtankers, helicopters, water scoopers, and Unmanned Aerial Systems are assisting firefighters’ suppression efforts. A 24-hour Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) over the Black Fire restricts entry to non-fire aircraft, including civilian drones. Remember, if you fly, we can’t.
The Gila National Forest is under Stage 2 Fire Restrictions. No campfires. No Propane Devices. Visit https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/gila/alerts-notices/?aid=73002 for more information and additional dos and don’ts.
The New Mexico State Forester has implemented statewide fire restrictions. More information: https://www.emnrd.nm.gov/sfd/find-current-fire-restrictions/