Published June 19, 2013
The Incident Information System lists 44 active fires or fire-related incidents across the United States. Droughts and high winds have hindered containment efforts for many of the events.
In New Mexico, the Silver Fire burns in the Gila National Forest to the east of Silver City. The fire was started by lightning on June 7, about 7 miles southwest of Kingston. Evacuations were ordered for Kingston in the middle of the night on June 10. Highway 152, from San Lorenzo through Hillsboro has been closed with no signs of reopening soon. Royal John Road is only open to residents.
As of June 19 at 9 a.m. MDT, 538 total personnel are involved in containment efforts. The 30,300-acre fire is only 5 percent contained, meaning 95 percent is still actively burning. Active suppression tactics are being hindered by "extremely rough terrain," and a great deal of fuel. Among the unburned fuel in the area are dry, beetle-killed trees. Point protection efforts are being focused around roads and structures near the hazard area. It is expected that without wetting rains, the fire could double in size in the next 21 days. Currently, fire managers are expecting the smoke to continue to build as the weather gets warmer.
Unfortunately, according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Frank Strait, conditions are not expected to aid relief efforts much in the coming days. While there may be slight shower chances for the area Thursday and Friday afternoon and evening, precipitation will be spotty at best. Winds won't be overly strong, but will be present at 10 to 20 mph, playing a role in hindering containment efforts.
Nearby, the Tres Lagunas Fire north of Pecos, N.M., continues to creep and smolder after being ignited on May 30. The fire, now 90 percent contained, has burned 10,219 acres. Wind has played a large role in advancing this fire. Conditions will remain dry and hot for the remainder of the week. A small disturbance bringing showers will likely just miss the area to the east as 15-25-mph winds blow through the area. Management teams are focusing on property protection attempts as they try to navigate through steep terrain and rolling rocks, but luckily unlike some of the other fires the growth potential for this fire remains low.
In Colorado, the Black Forest Fire continues to rage across 14,280 acres. Containment is up to 85 percent since the fire began on the after of June 1. Investigators are still determining the cause of the blaze. Restrictions are being lifted and evacuated areas are being prepared to allow future re-entry. Several thousand residents were evacuated from 502 structures that were destroyed in the fire, as reported by the Incident Information System. The fire was exacerbated by high winds in its early days. The weather is expected to be more favorable for fire-fighting efforts in the coming days.
Around 11:30 a.m. MDT on June 18, the Doce Fire was reported 8 miles north of Prescott, Ariz. In its first day it spread 5,000 acres. Areas in Williamson Valley, including Granite Basin summer homes and American Ranch neighborhoods, have been put on watch for potential evacuations. Some evacuations have already occurred, but no structural damage or personal injuries have been reported.
As the fires continue to blaze in the West, this year's wildfire season could potentially be a vicious one.