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Whitewater Baldy Complex Fire Now 37 Percent Contained

33.3N 108.7W

June 12th, 2012 Category: Fires

USA - June 11th, 2012

Crews continued on Monday to patrol the perimeter of the nearly 280,000-acre Whitewater Baldy Fire (upper right quadrant), in New Mexico, USA, mopping up where needed and cutting off any pockets of fire found along containment lines. The fire is now 37% contained (click here for previous images of the blaze), although other fires can still be burning in other parts of the state (see lower half of image).

The Whitewater Baldy Fire burned in several drainage basins within the Mogollon Mountain Range in the Gila Wilderness. Burned drainage basins are subject to flooding, erosion, mud and debris flows, landslides and other earth movement because the protective cover of vegetation is missing that normally intercepts rainfall and holds the soil in place.

Until vegetation becomes reestablished in the burned area, water and debris will run off at an increased rate in adjacent drainages. Depending on the intensity and amount of rainfall, the drainages may not be able to withstand the water and debris, and flooding may occur. Homes, businesses and other downstream values will be at increased risk until vegetation returns to the burned landscape.

Gila Wilderness Fire Now 30% Contained, Dry Conditions Persist Across New Mexico, USA

32.8N 107.4W

June 8th, 2012 Category: Fires

USA - June 7th, 2012

Smoke from the Whitewater-Baldy Complex fire in the Gila Wilderness of New Mexico, USA, blows towards the northeast. Slowly but surely, crews are making progress on the largest wildfire in the state’s history, and the blaze is now 30 percent contained. The lightning-sparked fire has burned more than 263,000 acres. Dry conditions across the state are making it prone to wildfires; in fact, several additional blazes can be seen to the south of the Gila Wilderness, near the bottom edge.

Whitewater-Baldy Fire 22% Contained

33.3N 108.5W

June 6th, 2012 Category: Fires

USA - June 5th, 2012

Although a thick plume of smoke is still being released by the Whitewater-Baldy Complex fire, in New Mexico, USA, there appears to be less smoke than before (click here for previous images of the blaze), as the fire is now 22 percent contained. Here, the plume of smoke is blowing northeastward, and a large area of smoky haze can be observed in the upper right quadrant. Caused by lightning, the fire, ablaze in steep, unaccessible terrain, has been burning for three weeks. The nearby private ghost town of Mogollon had been evacuated as a precaution, but that order was lifted Monday and residents are back home.

Whitewater-Baldy Complex Fire Continues to Grow, but at Slower Rate

33.3N 108.7W

June 4th, 2012 Category: Fires

USA - June 1st, 2012

Smoke from the Whitewater-Baldy Complex Fire, also known as the Gila Wilderness blaze, creates a large, grey cloud in the upper left quadrant of this image of New Mexico, USA. The fire continues to grow in the Gila National Forest, but at a slower rate.

The Whitewater Baldy Fire grew to 241,701 acres but crews are inching their way towards containment and the fire was 17 percent contained on Sunday. Firefighters made good progress Saturday on the northeastern portions of the fire and patrols were monitoring that section of the fire on Sunday.

Along the southwest boundary, the fire moved sluggishly through the lower slopes and produced minimal short duration smoke columns. Reduced fire behavior was observed as the fire moved into gentle sloping hills of piñon and juniper. The fire in the southeastern section continued to slow.

On Sunday, firefighters were scouting the area along Gila Mountain Trail and the Middle Fork River for potential control lines. They were also building a contingency line a safe distance east of the fires edge, in the event extreme fire behavior pushed the fire to the east. They also worked on strengthening containment lines south of Mogollon. The Catron County Sheriff s Office has lifted the evacuation order in Mogollon and is opening the community to residents and business owners today and were expecting to open the community to the public on Wednesday.

Smoke from Whitewater-Baldy Complex Fire Billows Southwestward

33.1N 107.5W

June 2nd, 2012 Category: Fires

USA - May 31st, 2012

The Whitewater-Baldy Complex Fire, or Gila Wilderness blaze, is a wildfire burning in Catron County, New Mexico, USA. The fire has burned more than 200,000 acres (310 sq mi; 81,000 ha) in the Gila National Forest, becoming the largest wildfire in New Mexico state history, surpassing the Las Conchas Fire of 2011. Here, a thick plume of smoke from the fire billows towards the southwest. Much of the fire is burning in the Gila Wilderness which includes the fire’s namesake, Whitewater Baldy mountain.

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