Wildfire activity in Arizona and New Mexico

Dog Fire 6-14-2016

Above: Dog Fire, June 14, 2016. Photo by Incident Management Team.

Cool, wet weather has slowed wildfire activity in Northern California, Washington, and Oregon. The 2,396-acre Pony fire on the Klamath National Forest, about 15 miles southwest of Happy Camp, received rain on Tuesday.

It is a different story in Arizona and New Mexico where more than half a dozen fires have burned significant acreage. All of them are limited suppression fires except for the Dog Head Fire that started Tuesday morning.

Jack Fire

This limited suppression fire has burned 36,408 acres in central Arizona 24 miles southeast of Sedona. This is an increase of about 11,000 acres over the last three days. There is a red flag warning in effect from 11 a.m. Wednesday morning to 7 p.m. in th evening due to strong winds and low relative humidity for the area. Higher temperatures and low relative humidity are expected over the next couple days.

Dog Head Fire

Rich Nieto’s Type 2 Incident Management Team will assume command of this 682-acre fire Wednesday evening. It started at 11 a.m. on Tuesday and as of Wednesday morning voluntary evacuations are occurring for Monzano Morning, Aceves Road, and La Parra Road.

Today they expect temperatures in the 80s and low 90s, southwest wind of 10 to 25 with gust to 35, and relative humidity around 10 percent.

It is about 25 miles southeast of Albuquerque, New Mexico on the Cibola National Forest and National Grassland. This is the only one of these six fires that is not a limited suppression fire.

McKenna Fire

This limited suppression fire northwest of Silver City, New Mexico has burned 10,210 acres since it was reported on May 6.

North Fire

This limited suppression fire has burned about 22,000 acres 25 miles southwest of Magdalena, New Mexico since it was reported on May 21.

North Fire
North Fire. Undated photo by Ken Watkins.

Spur and Turkey Fires

The Gila National Forest in southwest New Mexico is releasing very little information about these two limited suppression fires that at last report had each burned between 2,000 and 3,000 acres.

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, Bill Gabbert now writes about it from the Black Hills. Google+

4 thoughts on “Wildfire activity in Arizona and New Mexico”

  1. There have been several fires in AZ this year managed for multiple objectives, primarily resource benefit… It will be interesting to see the final tally of acres on these fires- Mormon, Juniper, Pivot Rock, Cowboy, Bert, and others. Some were small, some large, but the trend is towards facilitating beneficial fire under conditions that also maximize firefighter safety.

  2. Fair amount of smoky haze here just south of Santa Fe NM from North & Dog Head fire, guess Fire Season is here

  3. We are traveling from St. Louis to San Diego starting Tues. 6/21/16, using Interstate 40 going through NM and AZ. Will we be anywhere near the fires that are going on this week? Not going is not an option, we are bringing a car to our daughter after an accident and she needs a car. What do we look out for and any safety precautions we should know? I understand not to drive near a fire or smoke, but we are not familiar with the areas at all and any help is appreciated.

  4. You should be fine. I lived in Sandia Park and hiked in the Cibola National Forrest and Sandia and Monzano range for five years. The State will close I40 if the fire becomes a serious threat. They are very efficient at this as we saw last Fall when snow, ice and tornados (yup) forced a closing all the way back to Texas. The fire is South of I40, but you will most definitely see a lot of smoke. If you still become uncomfortable, you can take 14 North or more likely one of the several exits East of there and bypass the area North around Sandia Mt. to 25 South which takes you back to 40. Check your map and GPS. Its a pretty, hilly drive with great views of Sandia Peak.
    Whatever you do, don’t try to outrun a fire if you actually make visible contact. in the prairie grasslands and high desert especially, where big winds and impossibly vast vistas make judging distance and time extremely difficult. Its like driving into high water — turning around is the safe and only bet where loss of life is the cost of losing with the wrong one.

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