Lightning Ignites New Fires In The Gila National Forest

Jun 22, 2012

Silver City, NM-   An isolated thunderstorm developed over the Continental Divide north and east of Mimbres, New Mexico, igniting two fires late Thursday afternoon.  With safety zones and escape routes available nearby, fire crews were able to responded quickly and begin suppression efforts on both fires.  The Powder Fire, located in the McKnight Canyon area, is approximately 30 acres in mixed conifer and burning with low  to moderate intensities.  There are currently 32 fire personnel working the fire, including Smokejumpers and Helitack crews from the Gila Aerial Fire Base, a Cobre Type 2 handcrew, a 15-person initial attack crew from the Nez Pierce National Forest, as well as a 7-person initial attack crew from the Wilderness Ranger District.  Aircraft assigned to the fire include a helitanker that will support fire personnel on the ground with water delivery to hot spots.  Fire personnel worked into the night building fireline and will continue.  Crews will be working to extinguish hotspots and removing hazardous trees that may present a threat to the fireline.


The Continental Fire is located in ET Canyon, east of the Continental Divide and west of the Mimbres River.  The 20-acre Continental Fire is burning in Ponderosa Pine with moderate fire intensities.  Some spotting in advance of the fire was seen early in the suppression efforts. Lack of strong winds in the area allowed air tankers to drop retardant shortly after ground crews arrived on scene.  Although homes are in the area, they are not threatened by the fire.  Resources on scene include the Gila Hotshots, the Snake River Valley handcrew, the Palouse handcrew from Potlatch, Idaho,  and a 5-person initial attack crew from the Wilderness Ranger District.  Fire personnel completed a fireline around the fire early Friday and will continue improving the line, cooling hot spots, and falling trees that present hazards.


Fire personnel are on high alert as lightning storms are possible again with little to no precipitation expected and temperatures reaching the low to middle 90’s.  The current weather pattern is expected to continue through the weekend with an increase in temperatures by mid-week.