Gila National Forest – Black Range Complex Fires Update – 7/17/2016

Silver City, NM; July 17, 2016 – For Immediate Release – The Black Range Complex Fires on the Black Range Ranger District consist of two fires: the Kline Fire and the Cooney Fire. These lightning-caused fires started on Friday, July 8, and are located in the Black Range Mountains, 65 miles northwest of Truth Consequences, NM.

The Cooney Fire is located near Cooney Prairie (T10S, R14W, Sec 13), is approximately 3,800 acres burning with low to moderate effects in pine, oak and grass. The Kline Fire is located near Kline Mountain (T10S, R10W, Sec 14), is approximately 115 acres burning in ponderosa pine and piñon–juniper. The Black Range Complex Fires are currently 5% contained.

Yesterday, crews continued to monitor low to moderate fire behavior on the Cooney Fire as the fire moves in an east and southwest direction. Trails No. 23 (Christie Trail) and 26 (Greenfly Trail) were scouted by fire personnel for future holding features as the Cooney Fire perimeter grows in acreage. Also, crews burned out pockets of unburned fuel along the north and west perimeter of the fire.  On the Kline fire, fire crews continued to monitor fire behavior and the fire’s progression to the west.  Scouting operations were conducted in unburned fuels on the western fire perimeter.

Today, fire crews will continue to monitor along the western perimeter of the Cooney fire. And scout Trails No. 23 (Christie Trail) and 26 (Greenfly Trail).  Fire crews on the Kline will continue to monitor the fire line on the east, south and west sides of the fire perimeter.   As both the Cooney Fire and Kline Fires burn, predetermined management areas have been designated to manage these fires within those boundaries.  There are currently 115 fire personnel assigned to the Black Range Complex Fires.

Fire behavior and effects are being assessed to insure incident objectives are being met. These objectives include reducing hazardous fuels, maintain and returning fire to a fire-adaptive ecosystem, increasing firefighter and public safety, and protecting cultural resources and wildlife habitat.

The extended weather forecast for the Black Range Complex Fires calls for a chance of dry afternoon and evening thunderstorms through Sunday. Then a chance for wetting thunderstorms setting up over the region on Monday. Smoke conditions will continue to be visible from Wolf Hollow Campground.  Campers can continue to experience drifting smoke and haze from the Cooney Fire and the Kline Fire.  Smoke-sensitive individuals and people with respiratory problems are encouraged to take precautionary measures. Information on air quality and protecting your health can be found by calling the New Mexico Department of Health at 1-888-878-8992, or visiting the website at: https://nmtracking.org/fire.

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At this time there is a road and trail advisory in place within the Black Range Complex fire perimeter. In an effort to protect the public and to enhance the safety of our firefighters, the Gila National Forest is asking all visitors to avoid the areas of the Black Range Ranger District and the Wilderness Ranger District that fall in the areas south of Highway 59, south and east of County Road 21 and 23 to Double Springs, east of Yellow Springs Trail (Trail No. 53), north of Greenfly Trail (Trail No. 26), and west of FR 150.  This area includes Wolf Hollow Campground, the trail, and the Gravel Pit area on FR 4064T.  This also includes the area of the Continental Divide Trail between the junction of FR 220A and Highway 59.  Please detour west along FR 226A north on FR 226 to re-enter the CDT at Highway 59.                                       

For more information, please contact the Fire Information Line at: (575) 772-5747 from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. located at the Incident Command Post at Beaverhead Work Center or visit the New Mexico Fire Information website at www.nmfireinfo.com; and http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/. Also, you can find additional information at https://www.facebook.com/GilaNForest, and http://www.fs.usda.gov/gila  Twitter: @gilanforest.

###GLCTeam###

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