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Whitewater-Baldy Complex

Whitewater-Baldy Complex

Information from the current Whitewater-Baldy Complex InciWeb Page.

This is the largest fire in New Mexico history and is occurring to the East of the area burned by last year’s Wallow Fire, the largest fire in Arizona history. Much of the activity is in Catron County, New Mexico, which was singed by the Wallow Fire. It begin as two separate lightning-caused wildfires in remote areas that merged to form the Complex.

Currently the fire is about half the size of the Wallow Fire, but the terrain is so rugged in the Gila National Forest that firefighters have to set up outside of the fire area and back-burn to create effective lines. It would be too dangerous to directly attack the fire.

The area has been drought-stricken and the daily humidity is remaining in single digits. There is so much dry fuel available that when the wind picks up, the fire makes a run.

It is probable that the fire will not really be under control until the rain starts in July, if it does this year.

  • Date Started: Baldy 5/9/12, Whitewater 5/16/12
  • Location: Gila National Forest, New Mexico
  • Cause: Lightning
  • Size: 255,024 acres [398.5 miles² 1032 km²] based on infrared data
  • Number of Personnel: Approximately 1,191 including 14 hotshot crews and 12 hand crews
  • Equipment: 7 dozers, 63 engines, 30 watertenders
  • Aircraft: 10 helicopters
  • Incident Commander: Tony Sciacca, Southwest Area Command Team
  • Percent Contained: 18%
  • Fuels Involved: Timber, mixed conifer, ponderosa pine, piñon/juniper and grass fuels are within the fire perimeter along with heavy concentrations of down and dead fuel.

[For the latest information click on the Fire symbol, or go to the CATEGORIES drop-down box below the CALENDAR and select “Fires” for all of the posts related to wildfires on this site.]