Black Fire burned 167,378 acres — becomes the third largest in New Mexico history

Black Fire burned 167,378 acres — becomes the third largest in New Mexico history
Photo by USFS

As Calf Canyon and Hermits Peak Fire continue to slow its spread, the Black Fire already became the third largest in New Mexico records. Latest update from Gila National Forest indicates about 13,000 increase in acreage — total affected area at 167,378 acres.

Wednesday will bring warmer temperatures, lower relative humidity, and lighter winds to the area. 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. Slash chipping will continue. 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. Nighttime UAS may be utilized along with hand ignitions.

Over the next 48 hours a return of west winds and hot/dry conditions will continue to support active fire behavior. Upslope runs, spotting, and torching will increase as temps rise and relative humidity stay in the single digits. Fire along the south flank will continue uphill progression toward the crest.

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.

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