New Mexico: Signal fire northeast of Silver City

(UPDATED at 9:25 a.m. MDT, May 13, 2014)

Map of the Signal fire, 10 pm MDT, May 12, 2014
Map of the perimeter of the Signal fire, 10 p.m. MDT, May 12, 2014

The Signal Fire 12 miles north of Silver City, New Mexico is now is now estimated at 4,700 acres with no containment. Although fire activity on Monday was significantly less than on Sunday, the fire continued to spread to the north and east. Several air tankers, including a DC-10, supported firefighters on the ground by dropping numerous loads of retardant on the perimeter of the fire.

A Southwest Area Type 2 Incident Management Team assumed command of the fire Monday.


(Originally published at 2:31 p.m. CDT, May 12, 2014; updated at 7:30 p.m. CDT, May 12, 2014 with a new map)

Firefighters are battling a new wildfire, the Silver Fire, 12 miles north of Silver City, New Mexico on the Gila National Forest. It started May 11 and has grown to about 3,000 acres with no containment. Sunday, the fire exhibited rapid fire spread and torching with spotting up to ¼ mile. The fire is burning in timber with a grass understory. 

A Type 2 Incident Management Team is en route and is expected to assume command at 6 p.m. Monday.

Map Signal Fire
Map of the Signal Fire, showing heat detected by a satellite at 2:57 p.m. MDT, May 12, 2014. The location of the icons can be as much as a mile in error.

Resources assigned to the fire include:

  • Crews: 1 Hotshot Crew and an unknown number of smokejumpers;
  • 3 Engines
  • Aircraft:
    • 8 air tankers: including one very large air tanker, 3 Type 2 air tankers, and 4 Single Engine Air Tankers;
    • 5 helicopters
    • 3 air attack, 1 Aerial Supervision Module, and 1 lead plane

Residents in the vicinity of Signal Peak have evacuated. Highway 15 has been closed from the Ben Lilly Monument north to the Gravel Pit near Wildhorse Mesa. Firefighters are employing full suppression tactics to contain and extinguish the fire.

The weather forecast for the fire area on Monday calls for 56 degrees, winds of 15 mph gusting to 23, and a relative humidity of 16 percent. Tuesday should be much cooler, more humid, with decreasing winds. The nearest Remote Automatic Weather Station is the Gila Center RAWS, 20 miles to the north.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

3 thoughts on “New Mexico: Signal fire northeast of Silver City”

  1. I live in Arenas Valley, south of 180 and earlier today, I could see flames along the crest of the ridge east of the Twin Sisters. Can someone please explain why we are seeing fire and smoke from an area no on has said there is fire? The maps all show the fire way north of where we see it. There is also a large plume of smoke coming up due north of Old Ft. Bayard and not one says we have fire there. What gives?


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