Evacuation status lifted on the Black Fire

June 21, 2022 Daily Update

Acres: 325,115 acres

Containment: 68%

Total Personnel: 943

Cause: Human-caused, under investigation

Start Date: Friday, May 13, 2022

Location: 31 miles NW of Truth or Consequences, NM

Fuels: Timber and tall grass

Highlights: Due to recent rainfall and improved fire conditions, the immediate threat to communities surrounding the Black Fire has been reduced. All evacuations and evacuation preparedness levels have been lifted for communities in Sierra, Grant, and Catron Counties. The real-time, interactive evacuation map has been revised to reflect this change.

While the immediate threat from the fire has decreased, residents are encouraged to continue to monitor weather forecasts and post-fire flooding potential at https://www.weather.gov/epz/, as well as Emergency Management websites for Sierra County, Catron County, and Grant County.

Current weather forecasts indicate a high probability of severe monsoon storms and residents should take precautions as increased runoff from the burned area may pose additional threats for flooding.

The Black Fire Emergency Closure remains in effect on National Forest System lands around the Black Fire area. Additional information is available at: https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/gila/alerts-notices/?aid=73435.

New Mexico Highway 152 is now open from milepost 40 (Kingston) to milepost 15 (San Lorenzo). Please continue to use caution in the area and be mindful of increased fire traffic.

Operations: Firefighters are performing routine reconnaissance flights to continuously gather information on fire activity and suppression repair needs within the Black Fire. During these flights, crews observed fire slowly moving through pine needles on the forest floor in Water Canyon. Firefighters proceeded to suppress the small half-acre area, constructing handline to protect the nearby Forest Service cabin. Firefighters will continue to monitor and hold this fireline in Water Canyon to prevent further fire spread. Some fire activity was also observed at Hillsboro Peak on the southern end. Crews plan to monitor this area to ensure activity does not increase when temperatures start to rise. No fire activity was observed on Granite Peak. The central and eastern areas of the fire have received 1-2 inches of rain, forcing some repair crews to cease operations and leave the area due to flooding. As needed, firefighters are removing suppression equipment including hoses, sprinklers, and large water tanks known as “pumpkins” in and around the fire perimeter. Crews are scattering cut vegetation onto handlines and dozerlines to help prevent erosion from the oncoming rains.

Weather: A Flood Watch for flash flooding is in effect today through 6:00 AM on Wednesday. Deep monsoon moisture will lead to numerous showers and thunderstorms into Wednesday, with the potential for heavy rainfall and flash flooding in and around the burned area. Mostly cloudy skies, cooler temperatures, and higher humidity will occur during this time. Less moisture by the end of the week will result in warmer temperatures, lower humidity, and reduced thunderstorm coverage.

Restrictions: Know Before You Go! The public can obtain current state and federal fire restriction information across New Mexico at NM Fire Info | Fire Restrictions or NM Forestry Division state-wide fire restrictions.

Safety: The health and safety of firefighters and the public is always the top priority. Members of the public should stay away from Black Fire operations. A Temporary Flight Restriction is in place over the Black Fire area, which includes unmanned aircraft, or drones. More information on the dangers drones pose to wildland firefighting aircraft and personnel on the ground can be found at: https://uas.nifc.gov/.

Smoke: Smoke has become less visible as rainstorms have moved into the Black Fire area. An interactive smoke map at https://fire.airnow.gov/ allows you to zoom into your area to see the latest smoke conditions. For additional information, please view the Black Fire Smoke Report.

Fire updates are posted on InciWeb, the Gila National Forest Facebook and Twitter pages, and NM Fire Information.

Email: 2022.black@firenet.gov Phone: (575)-249-1264 Office Hours: 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM

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