Gila National Forest – Black Range Complex Fires Update – 7/18/2016

Silver City, NM; July 18, 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. As both the Cooney Fire and Kline Fires burn, predetermined management areas have been designated as boundaries for fire management. There are currently 116 fire personnel assigned to the Black Range Complex Fires.

The Cooney Fire, located near Cooney Prairie (T10S, R14W, Sec 13), is approximately 3,620 acres burning with low to moderate effects in pine, oak and grass. The Kline Fire, located near Kline Mountain (T10S, R10W, Sec 14), is approximately 309 acres burning in ponderosa pine and piñon–juniper. The Black Range Complex Fires are currently 5% contained.

Yesterday, fire crews on the Cooney Fire conducted a firing operation west of the Wolf Hollow Trail and along CR 21 to remove unburned pockets of fuels. Crews also scouted Trails No. 23 (Christie Trail) and 26 (Greenfly Trail) for future holding features. Fire crews on the Kline Fire utilized hand ignitions on FR 46 and monitored the fire as it progressed to the south.  An Initial Response crew responded to a new lightning start within the complex management area named the Corduroy Fire. Crews will continue to monitor the Corduroy Fire until a final management decision is made by the Black Range Complex Incident Commander, in coordination with Forest Service personnel, permittees, and cooperators.

Fire crews today on the Cooney Fire, will scout Trail No. 53 (Yellow Trail) and do reconnaissance of Black Mountain in preparation for potential future burnout operations. Crews on the Kline Fire, will continue to carry fire south along FR 46 and scout in the unburned fuels south of the fire’s progression.  Initial Response crews will continue to monitor the Corduroy Fire until a final management decision is made.

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 suggest a chance of afternoon thunderstorm developing over the region with a chance of spotted showers for the next several days. 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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