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Wallow Fire – Half-Step Back

Wallow FireThe gusty winds yesterday pushed the fire over the containment lines in New Mexico and the town of Luna had to be evacuated. With gusts up to 50 mph [80 kph] air resources were grounded for safety reasons.

No new structures have been lost and containment has reached 44%, but the weather will be problem for the rest of today. Hopefully the cold front moving in will improve the weather conditions.

Information from the current Wallow Fire InciWeb Page

  • Date Started: 5/29/2011
  • Location: Apache, Navajo, Graham, and Greenlee Counties, San Carlos and White Mountain Apache Reservations, Arizona; Catron County, New Mexico
  • Cause: Human – under investigation
  • Size: 511,118 acres [799 miles² 2068 km²] based on infrared data
  • Percent Contained: 44%
  • Injuries to Date: 12
  • Residences: 2,714 threatened; 32 destroyed; 5 damaged
  • Commercial Property: 473 threatened; 4 destroyed
  • Outbuildings: 1,216 threatened; 36 destroyed; 1 damaged
  • Other: 1 truck destroyed
  • Number of Personnel: Approximately 3,594 including 15 hotshot crews and 56 hand crews
  • Equipment: 21 dozers, 196 engines, 72 watertenders
  • Aircraft: 15 helicopters, 5 air tankers
  • Incident Commander: Jim Loach, Area Command Team 3

The National Weather Service continues its Red Flag Warning for today from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. for strong winds and low relative humidity. Increased winds will affect the entire region today with southwest wind speeds increasing through the morning at 20 – 30 mph with gusts of 40 – 50 mph. Relative humidity will range from 5 – 15 percent. This combination of strong winds and low relative humidity will create extreme fire behavior. With the high winds, spotting is a major concern. A strong cold front will push into the area tonight, shifting the winds to the northwest by Monday morning with cooler temperatures behind the cold front, along with higher humidity.

Strong southwest winds have caused the Wallow Fire to breach containment lines along US 180, on the east side of the fire. The town of Luna, N.M. has been evacuated. Air resources in defense of Luna were grounded yesterday due to high winds. Structural protection is in place for Luna and also in the broad Blue River drainage, where fire has become established in the San Francisco drainage, Raspberry Creek, Steeple Mesa, Quebec drainage and Horse Canyon areas. Air support began early this morning to work on objectives before the expected wind gusts arrive and air support is forced to be grounded.

On the western flank, chipping and repair of firelines continues. Firefighters have completed construction of the firelines between the Black River and Hwy. 191 and continue to bring fire southward to the indirect lines to prevent the main body of fire from moving across Hwy 191. Today, fire crews will continue to work to keep the fire in Warren Canyon and watch for spot fires. Structure protection equipment within the Sunrise Resort area has been removed in anticipation of re-opening the facilities on Monday.

Firefighters continue area patrol and hazard tree removal in the northern area of the fire.

[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.]