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Fire in Gila National Forest now the largest in NM history

By   /   May 30, 2012  /   No Comments

Photo from US Forest Service/Reuters from May 23 in the Gila National Forest

Barely a year since the Las Conchas fire threatened Los Alamos, a new blaze in the Gila National Forest in the western part of New Mexico has become the largest wildfire in the history of the state.

The fire has now burned more than 265 square miles. From Associated Press:

The Gila forest fire is also the largest currently burning in the country. It formed last week when two lightning-sparked blazes merged in an isolated mountainous area in southwestern New Mexico, where it has destroyed about a dozen homes and prompted evacuations of nearby towns and health alerts for some of the state’s largest cities.

And from the Christian Science Monitor:

The fire, some 15 miles east of Glenwood, N.M., is threatening Mongollon, a mining town founded in the 1880s and now on the National Register of Historic Places. Residents in the area were evacuated over the weekend. The blaze also destroyed several homes in Willow Creek, which had been evacuated.

Firefighters are battling winds and as well as the tremendously dry conditions that have plagued the state in recent years due to drought.

The Watchdog’s Jim Scarantino alerts us to an excellent place to get the latest information on the Gila fire: http://catroncounty.blogspot.com/

If you’re curious, what was the biggest wildfire in US history? The largest recorded was the Peshtigo Fire in 1871, in Wisconsin and Minnesota. It burned an astounding 3.78 million acres which, according to my calculations, translates to 5,906 square miles!


Rob is the National Energy Correspondent for Watchdog.org. Rob is an Emmy-winning news anchor who has held many prominent positions in the journalism field for over 10 years working for MSNBC, Fox Sports Net Pittsburgh and several local television stations. He served as the bureau chief for New Mexico Watchdog and Capitol Report New Mexico for four years. Rob can be reached on Twitter at @NMWatchdog or by email at rnikolewski@watchdog.org

  • http://newmexico.watchdog.org Jim Scarantino

    The fire is now larger than 190,000 acres

  • Don

    Could it be channelled thru the Round House in Santa Fe? It would finally do some good.