Fires Rip Across New Mexico

The largest wildfire in New Mexico’s history is currently spreading across the wilderness of the southwestern part of the state. The Whitewater-Baldy fire is being contained by more than 1,200 firefighters and has already crossed 354 square miles of the region. Fire managers are using the fire to test the results of decades of work attempting to allow fire to resume its natural role on the landscape. The strategy at Gila National Forest, where the fire is burning, is to allow it to spread as long as conditions allow. “The fact that this is wilderness and the wilderness of the Gila has seen a lot of fires, we are comfortable with allowing it to burn. What we do is monitor it and help steer it around to keep some of the impacts lower than they would otherwise be on their own,” said Danny Montoya, an operations section chief with the Southwest Incident Management Team.