Hermit Peak and Calf Canyon Fires subsiding — 311,000 acres scorched, Black Fire on the rise — over 146,000 acres burned in 10 days

Hermit Peak and Calf Canyon Fires subsiding — 311,000 acres scorched, Black Fire on the rise — over 146,000 acres burned in 10 days
Photo by @Ten_Tanker

As containment measures continue to bear fruits in case of the Hermit Peak and Calf Canyon Fires, another massive wildfire straining personnel on the ground. Over the last several days the largest fire in New Mexico history grew to 311,166 acres, consuming about a dozen hundred acres per day. At the same time the Black Fire, that started on May 13 about 250 miles to the South West from the Calf Canyon, in 10 days grew to 146,679 acres, with a mere 8% contained.

Despite favorable weather and increase in humidity levels Hermit Peak and Calf Canyon Fires will continue to spread, but significantly slower than last week. Crews will continue to go direct where possible, and the probability of ignition is 60-65%. Active burning conditions expected in the next 72 hours, approaching 90% probability of ignition. At this moment about 40% of perimeter contained, so there is a good chance wildfire won't return to its extreme state.

Black Fire

Black Fire, on the other hand, rapidly consuming thousands of acres every day. Since Sunday morning its area increased by 16,000 acres. 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.

Fire expected to 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 show consistent southward spread in the 2010 Aspen and 2013 Silver Fires.

Today firefighter will focus on 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.

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