Gila National Forest: Three Fires on Black Range Ranger District – Update for July 15, 2019

Bear Fire

The lightning-caused Bear Fire is approximately 1,200 acres, burning on National Forest System lands on the Black Range Ranger District, Sierra County, NM. This fire is demonstrating low fire behavior with scattered precipitation throughout the area.


Skid Fire

The lightning-caused Skid Fire is approximately 155 acres, burning on National Forest System lands in the Aldo Leopold Wilderness. Fire was backing down canyon to the north towards Morgan Creek. Fire activity was moderate and produced a well-defined column around 6 p.m. on Friday. Some torching was observed.  The initial test flight with the Silent Falcon UAS was a success. Acreage from the Silent Falcon drone flight verified acreage. Fire progression is to the northwest/northeast.


Middle Fire

The lightning-caused Middle Fire was reported today. This fire is burning on National Forest System lands in the Aldo Leopold Wilderness southwest of the area of the Skid Fire. Aerial reconnaissance, using the Silent Falcon drone, will verify acreage on Tuesday.


Summary: Reconnaissance has shown that these naturally-ignited fires are doing good things for the land. These fires are monitored using lookouts and aerial reconnaissance. These fires are all exhibiting low to moderate effects, cleaning up dead and down trees, and debris from previous fires, and reducing ladder and surface fuels. These fires will continue to reduce hazardous fuels accumulation and improve resiliency to wildfires and insect outbreaks during drought years.


Smoke from fire rises during the daytime, but in the evening can pool down in canyons, drainages, and basins, and we expect there may be smoke visible in Kingston, Hillsboro, and Truth or Consequences. For information on air quality and protecting your health, and to find guidance on distances and visibility, please visit monitors are set up in Mimbres, Winston and Gila Center.  Live tracking can be found at  for smoke monitor units USFS1054, USFS1035, and USFS1036 Fire information can be found at NM Fire Info and on Inciweb.


For information on the Gila National Forest, check out our website at or join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

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