Gila National Forest – Skid Fire and Air Reconnaissance Activity

Truth or Consequences, NM, July 13, 2019 – The Black Range Ranger District, Gila National Forest Is managing the Skid Fire, which is in the Aldo Leopold Wilderness.

The lightning-caused Skid Fire is approximately 100 acres. This fire was discovered on July 10. This fire is ½ mile south of Morgan Creek and will be visible to the community of Winston, Truth or Consequences, and along the I-25 corridor north and south of Truth or Consequences.  The fire is in steep, rocky terrain on the crest of Black Range on the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail.  This is the same area, where on July 12, 1994 Pilot Robert Boomer of Briles Wing and Helicopter and Helitack Firefighters Sean Gutierrez and Sam Smith of the U.S.D. A. Forest Service were killed when their helicopter experienced a hard landing while transporting them for an initial attack on the Guide Fire burning at 9,520 feet in the Black Range of the Gila National Forest near Mimbres NM. Two other crew members were injured in the crash.

Managing risk on an incident is of highest priority to fire managers, and with that being reviewed and analyzed, fire managers on the Skid Fire have ordered a Type 2, fixed-wing drone the Silent Falcon to conduct air reconnaissance on the Skid Fire. The expectation for this reconnaissance is to evaluate the fire perimeter and potential for growth. A Temporary Flight Restriction will be put in place for the duration of the flight. This drone has a flight time of approximately 1.5 hours, can fly at 3000′ AGL (above-ground-level), which meets the standards for flight above wilderness areas, and is extremely quiet. It has a fail-safe system in place, so that if It loses link-up it will return to its base. For more Information on the drone: https://sites.google.com/a/firenet.gov/interagency-fire-uas/.

For information on the Gila National Forest, check out our website at https://www.fs.usda.gov/gila or join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

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