Kingston residents return home, even though Silver Fire grows 6,200 acres
The Silver Fire, started by lightning in the Gila National Forest on June 6, continues to rage and grow, A persistent hot and dry weather pattern remains over the Silver Fire, which is not helpful to further containment. Firefighters have continued to hold the 36,500 acre fire within existing containment lines. At last report, the fire was approximately five percent contained.
Despite the persistence of the fire and due to the efforts of the crews working to keep homes safe, Kingston residents will be able to return home as of noon on Thursday.
“We are pleased to announce the evacuation order for the community of Kingston is lifted at noon today [Thursday]. This is lifted for residents of Kingston only,” said Incident Commander Matt Reidy. “The residents have been very understanding and their cooperation was appreciated during this trying time period. We understand residents have been away from their homes and are very anxious to return home.” Special entry permits will be issued at the Hillsboro Volunteer Fire Department to residents only. The Kingston area will remain closed to everyone except residents until further notice.
According to a Northern Arizona Incident Management Team news release, the fire is expected to exhibit the same smoke column as the Tuesday and Wednesday. The most active part of the fire is in the north, moving two miles on Wednesday.
Reentry into the community has resulted through coordination between multiple agencies including: Sierra County Sheriff’s Department, NM State Police, NM Department of Transportation, Hillsboro Volunteer Fire Department, NM State Forestry, US Forest Service.
New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez and key staff members will be briefed on firefighting efforts at the Silver Fire Incident Command Post this morning. Firefighters will continue mop up, indirect line construction, aggressively engaging the fire where appropriate and gathering intelligence on both the east and west flanks.
Silver Fire resources include five helicopters, five 20-person hotshot crews, four 20-person hand crews, 15 engines, one dozer and eight water tenders for 511 personnel. Cooperators include the Grant and Sierra County Sheriff’s Departments, NM State Police, Las Cruces BLM District, NM State Forestry and NM Department of Transportation.
Daily public meetings continue to be held each morning at the Hillsboro Community Center at 10 and Friday, June 21, 2013, at the Round Up Lodge in San Lorenzo at 6 p.m.
Forest closure information can be found at: http://fs.usda.gov/gila or www.nmroads.com. 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.