May 28 Update, 8 AM
Incident: Whitewater Baldy Complex Wildfire
For Immediate Release: May 28, 2012 8:00 a.m.
Whitewater-Baldy Complex Update
Southwest Area Type 1 Incident Management Team
Incident Commander: Tony Sciacca
Fire Information: 575-533-6901, 575-533-6053 (Daily from 7:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.)
Flickr (photos and maps): http://www.flickr.com/photos/gilaforest
Date Started: 05/16/2012
Number of Personnel: 907 personnel including
Location: Approximately 15 miles E of Glenwood, NM
11 hotshot crews, 10 hand crews
Equipment: 39 Engines, 19 Water Tenders, 6 Dozers
Aircraft: 5 Helicopters
Percent Contained: 0
Injuries to Date: Five
A community meeting will be held on Tuesday, May 29, at 6:00 pm at the Glenwood Community Center. The incident management team will provide updates on strategies and tactics for suppressing the Whitewater-Baldy Fire.
Sunday afternoon, The Gila National Forest has a reported a new fire approximately 15 miles northeast of Reserve near Aragon, NM. Fire crews and helicopters from the Whitewater-Baldy provided assistance with initial attack efforts on the Wagon Tongue Fire. For more information on this fire, contact the Reserve Ranger District at 1-575-533-6232.
Light winds are expected today, which should help slow the fire down. However, drier air has moved into the region, which will increase the potential for extreme conditions as the fire burns through steep terrain with heavy fuels. The lighter winds will allow for the use of helicopters as needed and a mobile retardant base has been established near Glenwood.
On Sunday, approximately 95% of the perimeter experienced active burning, creating a heavy smoke plume. There was no major movement or growth on the fire due to lighter winds. Less extreme fire activity aided firefighter's efforts to prep and strengthen fire lines. Because of the potential for extreme fire behavior, heavy smoke production is likely and will spread to the east/northeast today. The spread of this fire continues to be slowed in some areas because it is moving through parts of the forest where there were previous prescribed burns.
Forest Road 141 is closed from the Sawmill in Lower San Francisco east through to Turkey Track.
Forest Road 28 is closed starting at Collins Park.
State Route 159 is closed starting at the base of Whitewater Mesa.
Forest Road 142 at the intersection of Forest Road 150
The Gila National Forest closed the Catwalk National Recreation Trail until further notice. Please visit the Gila National Forest Website at www.fs.usda.gov/gila for further details on this closure.
Before a wildfire approaches your home, evacuate your pets and all family members who are not essential to preparing the home. Anyone with medical or physical limitations and the young and elderly should be evacuated immediately. Remember the "P's of Evacuation"; People, Pets, Prescriptions, Papers, Pictures and Personal Computer. Refer to http://www.wildlandfirersg.org/ and http://www.nmfireinfo.com/ for additional information on emergency evacuations. Also, go to http://www.firewise.org/ and follow the link to homeowners to find interactive modules, videos, games and quizzes to learn about how wildfires behave and what you can do to make your home safer.
Today's Planned Activities:
Structure protection and line prep will continue in the communities of Mogollon and Willow Creek. Taking advantage of lighter winds, crews are preparing for a possible burnout operation today the help protect the community of Mogollon.
Crews will continue their prep work on areas surrounding the perimeter of the fire, especially along Forest Road 141, where they have removed vegetation and successfully conducted burnout operations overnight to reinforce containment lines. Preventing the fire from crossing over the 141 road is critical to being able to actively suppress the fire in areas where the terrain is less rugged.
Public Safety Message:
As vacationers travel across New Mexico this holiday weekend, they are urged to use caution with any use of fire. Make sure campfires are completely extinguished and cold to the touch before leaving. Make sure brakes and exhaust systems are in good working order to prevent roadside starts and never pull over into areas with tall grass and weeds.