Overflow Prescribed Fire near Roswell declared the Overflow Wildfire

On April 7, 2022, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) declared the Overflow Prescribed Fire to be a wildfire when an unexpected fire whirl carried fire across the control lines. The fire is located southeast of Roswell, along the Pecos River corridor, in Chaves County. As of April 8, an estimated 1,900 acres have burned, and containment is at 50 percent, with a mix of Federal, State and private lands burned. The strategy for the Overflow Fire is full suppression.  

On April 7, at 11:35 a.m., prescribed fire ignitions began within pre-determined parameters, called a prescription. The fire whirl, a dust-devil-like phenomenon, changed the fire intensity along control lines and spread the fire across the boundary. A fire whirl is a vortex-induced by extreme heat in the fire environment and is often composed of flame, debris, and ash and can travel distances similar to tornadoes. Fuels in the area are dry grasses and salt cedar. Upon the breach of the control lines, the BLM declared the event an escaped prescribed fire, which converted to a wildfire, at 1:25 p.m.

The following cooperating agencies have contributed resources to the containment of the Overflow Fire: Chaves County, Carlsbad and Ruidoso Fire Departments, New Mexico Forestry, U.S. Forest Service, and U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Presently, there are six engines and two hot-shot crews on site.  

Smoke from the Overflow Fire may be visible to residents and visitors. Smoke-sensitive individuals and people with respiratory problems or heart disease are encouraged to take precautionary measures. The New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) Environmental Public Health Tracking (EPHT) website can provide air quality information and protect your health. 

Fire update information will be posted on New Mexico Fire Information at www.nmfireinfo.com.

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