Silver Fire reaches 92,000 acres – hot, dry and windy weather fuels flames

........................................................................................................................................................................................

Mimbres Valley, Silver City and other areas west and northwest of the Silver fire may be experiencing heavy smoke, and even falling ash, as a result of Thursday’s fire activity.

Continued high temperatures, dry weather and southeasterly winds made for an active fire day on the Silver fire Thursday. The smoke and intensity of the fire have prohibited the use of helicopters on the north end of the fire, where it is advancing the fastest. The fire has progressed significantly to the northwest over the Crest Trail and is approaching Reed’s Peak. In addition, all burnout operations have been suspended for the time being. The fire is still only 20 percent contained.

The fire has also made a few advances to the west where it has partially crossed over the Rabb Trail. Helicopters and crews were actively suppressing the area where the fire has gone over the Rabb Trail. However, due to the fire’s intensity and heavy smoke, helicopters are now unable to be utilized on the north end of the fire.

There are currently no evacuations, and no structures have burned.

At this time, no communities are threatened, according to the New Mexico Incident Management Team. Areas east of the fire are being monitored by air. The fire is approximately 3 miles southwest of Hermosa and 16 miles southwest of Winston. Firefighters completed structure protection in Hermosa, and have moved their efforts to the Cooney and Bloodgood area. Firefighters have completed structure protection at the McKnight cabin, a U.S. Forest Service cabin.

A public meeting will be held Friday at the Upper Mimbres Volunteer Fire Department Station 2 (Thunderbird) at 6 p.m.

Crews totaling over 700 personnel remain focused on the west flank of the fire. Minimal fire activity is expected on the east side as the fire is reaching lighter fuels in the lower elevation. Fire personnel continue to monitor the east flank of the fire to detect any hot spots. The area around Kingston and state Highway 152 remains secure. The north perimeter of the fire as of 10 p.m. Wednesday night was in North Seco Canyon, south of Marshall Spring.

Access to Silver City is open. Businesses along state Highways 15 and 35 remain open, all the way to the Gila Cliff Dwellings. The majority of the Gila National Forest is open for recreational opportunities with Stage 1 fire restrictions in effect. For more information on restrictions, go to firerestrictions.us. An emergency closure is in place for the fire area. For more information about the fire closure go to http://www.fs.usda.gov/gila.