Fire continues in Gila National Forest

SILVER CITY, N.M. (KRQE) – Crews are battling flames that erupted near Silver City, N.M., around 3 p.m. Sunday northwest of Signal Peak. Although fire activity was significantly less than Sunday, it continued to spread north and east, making short uphill runs.

The National Weather Service says the fire is in the Gila National Forest between Pinos Altos and Lake Roberts and is moving northeast. On Sunday, strong winds lasted until the evening and continued to push the fire.

Signal Fire, Gila National Forest -5 miles north of Pinos Altos, NM
Signal Fire, Gila National Forest -5 miles north of Pinos Altos, NM

The blaze, named the Signal Fire, has burned about 4,700 acres so far and is 0 percent contained. Some private campgrounds and ranches have been evacuated, but no structures have been burned yet.

Several air tankers, including a DC-10, known as a Very Large Air Tanker (LAT), supported firefighters on the ground by dropping numerous loads of retardant on the perimeter of the fire.

Crews will construct direct fireline along the northern perimeter and the Meadow Creek road, and secure fireline to the Signal Peak Lookout Tuesday.

Closed

  • Big Tree Trailhead and the fire vicinity
  • Highway 15 from Ben Lilly Monument to gravel pit near Wildhorse Mesa

The Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument remains open, and can be accessed from NM Hwy 35. Businesses in Pinos Altos are open.

The Forest Service is looking into what caused the fire though they believe it is human-caused.

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