After a week of extreme drying in southern New Mexico, the Silver Fire grew to 101,311 acres Thursday. Winds that originated from the east fueled flames on the west flank and pushed smoked over the Mimbres Valley, Silver City and beyond. The southernmost fire activity is about 5 ½ miles north and away from highway 35, which remains open.
With Thursday’s wind shift, fire activity increased on the west flank. A total of three small spot fires broke out in the Rabb Park Trail area; however, the trail was not compromised. Two of the three spot fires were put out. While heavy smoke socked in the Mimbres Valley, the majority of fire growth and extreme activity occurred on the northwestern edge of the fire. The east side of the fire, near Winston, did not have much activity; crews remain there to monitor. The fire moved south of the Spud Patch Ridge Trail and west of Lake Mountain.
Residents can expect to see fire crews and helicopter water drops around the Highway 35 / McKnight area. Additional crews are posted in the Cooney area for further protection there.
Containment: The containment remains at 20% due to the new fire growth and expansion to the northwest matched or exceeded the fire perimeter.
Smoke: Residents from the Mimbres Valley to Silver City will still see smoke; it will begin to dissipate as a new weather system moves in. Smoke columns are likely, especially when mixed conifer fuels burn. Information on wildland fire smoke and your health can be found on the New Mexico Department of Health's website at https://nmtracking.org/fire.
Opened Access: Silver City is accessible. Businesses along New Mexico State Highways 15 and 35 remain open, all the way to the Gila Cliff Dwellings. The majority of the Gila National Forest is open for recreational opportunities with Stage One fire restrictions in effect. For more information on restrictions, go to firerestrictions.us.
Road Closure: NM Highway 152 is closed from Kingston to San Lorenzo. For additional information go to www.nmroads.com.