Black Fire area close to 300,000 acres, Calf Canyon-Hermits Peak Fire still smoldering

Black Fire area close to 300,000 acres, Calf Canyon-Hermits Peak Fire still smoldering
Photo from @EastPierceFire

Black Fire over Gila wilderness area continue to spread at a high rate, burning thousands of acres each day, and now closing to become the second-largest wildfire in New Mexico. Officials reported 296,895 acres affected, but even with 46% perimeter contained, active fire behavior expected to continue into next week.

Over the next 12-24 hours fire will continue to persistently back and flank to the south in the Black Range making upslope runs. Expect up-canyon run in East Canyon. Potential for dry thunderstorms with gusty outflow winds which could produce significant spread. Overnight smoke impacts likely to the communities along Highway 32, Highway 152, and I-25.

There are still high chances that Black Fire will overcome Calf Canyon-Hermits Peak Fire, setting another wildfire record in New Mexico.

Wednesday and Thursday forecasts promise relatively high humidity in the Calf Canyon-Hermits Peak Fire, which will have a slowing effect on wildfire spread. Latest infrared analysis showed growth of a few hundred acres over the last 2 days, and total affected area now at 318,172 acres.

A shift to west/southwesterly winds was advantageous for firefighters to continue implementing ignition operations along the containment line south of Bear Creek. The wind direction quartered away from the control line aiding the burnout by carrying heat and embers downslope, away from the control line. Slow, wind-aided backing to the north with occasional torching in the subalpine fir and mixed conifer and resultant short-range spotting was observed through the late morning and early afternoon.