Silver Fire continues to pose challenges

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SAN LORENZO – The Silver Fire, on the Gila National Forest east of Silver City and just west of the community of Kingston, N.M., is presently 21,400 acres. The fire is growing generally eastward. Firefighters continue to focus on protection of the Kingston and Royal John Mine area as well construction of fire lines.

Incident Commander Curtis Heaton said, “We have a good plan but it will take time to contain the fire. Steep rugged terrain, heavy fuel load and warm, windy weather will continue to challenge firefighters.”

Citizens can learn more about how the Northern Arizona Team is managing the fire by attending scheduled public meetings.

The Silver Fire was started by lightning on June 7 approximately seven miles southwest of Kingston, New Mexico. Smoke is visible from Highway 152 and Silver City, as well as Interstate 10, near Deming, and along Interstate 25 from Truth or Consequences south. An evacuation order is in place for Kingston as of June 10 at 1:40 a.m.

Public meetings will be held for Mimbres and Silver City. The Mimbres meeting is Friday, at 6 p.m. at the Roundup Lodge on Acklin Hill Road in San Lorenzo. The Silver City meeting will be at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Grant County Administration Building located at 1400 US Highway 180 East in Silver City. Additional meetings are held at the Hillsboro Community Center at 10 a.m. each morning.

Gila National Forest officials want to remind the general public that the forest is open to recreation except in the restricted fire area.

To ensure public safety, the Aldo Leopold Wilderness Area has been closed east of NM State Highway 152 from the Continental Divide Trail No. 74 south to Reeds Peak, and NM State Highway 152 from San Lorenzo to Hillsboro is closed until further notice. The road closure is for east and westbound traffic from 35 miles east of Bayard at mile marker 16 to 10 miles west of Hillsboro at mile marker 40. Trail No. 79 and the Royal John Road are also closed for public safety.

Two new starts have been reported in the Gila National Forest as of 3:30 p.m. on Friday. Further information will be forthcoming as soon as it is available. There have been no further updates to the Sawmill Canyon Fire as of last Friday, June 8, when the fire was reported 100 percent contained.

Silver Fire updates can be found on Inciweb at http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/3414. For additional fire information visit the following websites: www.facebook.com/SilverFireNM, www.flickr.com/gilaforest, www.twitter.com/SilverFireNM. For more information on road closures and fire restrictions, you can also visit http://fs.usda.gov/gila or www.nmroads.com.