Whitewater-Baldy Complex fire now biggest ever in New Mexico
Posted at: 05/30/2012 8:27 AM
| Updated at: 05/30/2012 10:52 PM
By: KOB.com Staff
The Whitewater-Baldy Complex fire has reached a sad milestone. It is now the biggest fire in New Mexico history.
New numbers from the U.S. Forest Service on Wednesday show the fire has burned 170,272 acres, surpassing the Las Conchas fire, which burned 156,293 acres last summer near Los Alamos.
The Whitewater-Baldy Complex fire is burning in steep, rugged terrain in the Gila Wilderness in southwestern New Mexico.
Its remote location makes it difficult for firefighters to reach.
Twelve vacation homes and outbuildings have been destroyed, but no one has been hurt.
There are now mandatory evacuations for the community of Mogollon, and road/trail/area closures on the Gila National Forest.
The fire began on or around May 9 from a lightning strike.
It was originally two fires, which merged.
The fire remains zero-percent contained.
Since the fire started, smoke from the fire has drifted over New Mexico and Colorado.
On Wednesday, the Forest Service issued this air quality update:
"Smoke from the Whitewater-Baldy Fire Complex will primarily be transported east of the fire on Wednesday.
Potential impacts can be expected in the Rio Grande Valley, south of Socorro towards
Truth or Consequences and east towards Alamogordo and Roswell.
Smoke may settle in the valleys and flow down drainages at night and into the early morning. Smoke could be present in Las Cruces overnight and into Thursday morning."
Stay with KOB for updates.