OK Bar Fire in New Mexico is just about wrapped up

Above: Satellite photo taken May 6, 2018, showing the OK Bar Fire in Arizona.

Firefighters are just about finished with the OK Bar Fire in the southern panhandle of New Mexico three miles from the Mexican border. They made their “final” update on InciWeb May 4, writing:

The perimeter of the fire is secure, and firefighters are patrolling the perimeter and monitoring the fire by air. Due to aggressive fire management planning by the landowner and supporting non-profit organization, fire suppression actions have been designed to maximize firefighter safety and keep costs commensurate with the values at risk. Smoke and flames will continue to be visible on the mountain until significant moisture has been received on the fire.

The management strategy was not full suppression. Sunday’s National Situation Report shows 61,436 acres burned, an increase of 188 over the day before, and 5 engines assigned, for a total of 20 personnel.

OK Bar Fire Arizona
The red line was the perimeter of the OK Bar Fire as determined by infrared mapping at 2400 MDT May 3, 2018. The red, yellow, and brown dots represent heat detected by a satellite.

OK Bar Fire grows by almost 8,000 acres

Above: Map of OK Bar Fire. The red line was the perimeter at 2229 MDT April 28, 2018. The yellow line was the perimeter about 20 hours before.

The OK Bar Fire in Southern New Mexico consumed another 7,817 acres Saturday to bring the total up to 37,067. Most of the growth was on the south side where it is now 8 miles north of the international border.

The area is under a Red Flag Warning that expires Monday night. Forecasters expect 25 to 35 mph southwest winds with gusts to 45 mph or higher and relative humidities reaching into the single digits. Strong southwest winds will continue through mid week.

The OK Bar Fire is not being fully suppressed and information about the incident is not easy to find. It is still not listed at InciWeb or on the official fire information site for New Mexico. Even though it has been growing by thousands of acres each day since it started April 22 the national situation report keeps saying, “Last narrative report unless significant activity occurs.”

Under the radar fire has burned 29,000 acres

Above: 3D map of the OK Bar Fire looking north, showing the perimeter at 3:06 a.m. MDT April 28, 2018.

A wildfire that is not getting much attention has burned over 29,000 acres in Southern New Mexico. The OK Bar Fire has a Type 4 Incident Commander assigned, the second lowest level for an IC, and 32 other personnel. It is in the southern panhandle of the state 21 miles south of Animas and has grown to within 9 miles of the Mexican border.

The fire is being managed by New Mexico State Forestry using a less than full suppression strategy. Fires not being suppressed do not receive the same exposure from the public agencies as conventional blazes, and this one may get even less in the next few days. After it grew by almost 5,000 acres on Friday, the national Situation Report for Saturday described the fire like this:

Extreme fire behavior. Last narrative report unless significant activity occurs.

Saturday morning the interagency fire information site for New Mexico did not include any information about the fire. It is not listed on InciWeb.

Following the expansion on the south end Friday, the situation is not likely to improve much in the near future. The area is under a Red Flag Warning Saturday. On Sunday and Monday the wind speed will increase each day, gusting out of the southwest above 30 mph.

The OK Bar Fire started April 22 and is burning on the Diamond A and Gray Ranches. It is expected to continue to move south over the Center Creek Mountains and east towards the Cowboy Rim/ Timber Lake Mountains.