The Pine Lodge Fire reached Capitan and Sunset Peaks yesterday and is visible on the south side of the Capitan Mountain Range and from Hwy 380 and Hwy 70. Low to moderate fire behavior will continue due to outflow winds from thunderstorms, but due to higher humidities and lack of fuel, minimal fire growth in expected.
The 14,783-acre fire continues to burn on the north and south sides of the Capitan Mountains in the wilderness area. Fire activity is minimal near containment lines and continues to consume unburned pockets of fuel within the lines, but all fire lines are holding well.
The fire was reported June 19 and is now 16 miles east of Capitan, New Mexico.
Crews continue to patrol and mop-up along fire lines as needed. Fire activity is being monitored in the Copeland Canyon and Peachtree Canyon drainages to keep the fire from moving west. The fire may continue to creep further into the Wilderness. Rehabilitation work from suppression activity is ongoing.
There are 145 suppression and support personnel remaining with the Pecos Type 3 Incident Management Team. Additional cooperating and assisting organizations include State of New Mexico, Lincoln County Sheriff Department, NM State Police and Otero County Electric Coop.
The Pine Lodge Fire is burning on the north end of the Smokey Bear Ranger District, Lincoln National Forest in Southwest New Mexico. It is 18 miles east of Capitan and 3 miles northwest of Arabela. A Type 3 Incident Management Team is currently engaged, and a Type 2 Team has been ordered. (See the map, above, of the Pine Lodge Fire)
Our very unofficial estimate of the size, based on heat detected by a satellite at 1:26 p.m. MDT on June 21, is that it has burned approximately 1,800 acres. It was spreading rapidly Friday afternoon pushed by a southwest wind.
The strategy is to suppress the fire. It is burning off Forest Service Road 130 near Boy Scout Mountain in extremely rough, rocky terrain with grass, pinyon-juniper, and mixed conifer vegetation. Firefighters will continue to assess and engage this fire, taking into consideration public and firefighter safety as the number one priority.
The area is under a Red Flag Warning until 8 p.m. Friday for extreme fire weather. A weather station at the Sierra Blanca Regional Airport, 18 miles to the southwest, recorded a high Friday afternoon of 83 degrees, 10 percent relative humidity, and winds out of the southwest at 15 to 25 mph with gusts up to 40. The forecast for Saturday calls for 87 degrees, RH of 8 percent, and southwest winds at 15 to 20 mph in the afternoon.