ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - Extra humidity and a bit of rain are helping the hundreds of firefighters battling the Silver Fire raging in the Gila National Forest in southwestern New Mexico.
And it's now losing a little steam.
The Silver Fire sparked by lightning on June 7 has burned 21,500 acres, but it's grown only slightly in the past couple of days.
The fire reached the evacuated town of Kingston this week as firefighters staged there kept the flames from entering the community.
There have been no new surges toward the former silver-mining boomtown, and all homes are safe.
Firefighters continue to focus on protecting structures and building a containment line, 20 miles of it so far with15 more miles scouted.
A public meeting on the fire is planned for 6 p.m. Saturday in Silver City at the Grant County Administration Bulding, 1400 U.S. Highway 180 East. Additional meetings are scheduled daily at 10 a.m. at the Hillsboro Community Center, which is doubling as an evacuation center for Kingston residents.
Gila National Forest managers also are reminding the general public that the forest is open to recreation except in the restricted fire area. Across the forest, however, there are restrictions on smoking and the use of camp and cooking fires.
U.S. Forest Service fire updates :
Saturday 10:30 a.m.
SAN LORENZO, N.M. – Small amounts of rain fell on the north and south side of the fire yesterday moderating fire activity. Firefighters expect the same weather patterns today which will continue to be favorable to suppression efforts. The fire is now at 21,789 acres.
The Northern Arizona Incident Management Team is hosting Congressman Steve Pearce, staff and his guests at the Silver Fire. A tour and briefing are planned at the Incident Command Post in San Lorenzo, N.M.
There are 552 firefighters working the fire which include five helicopters, eight 20-person hotshot crews, five 20-person hand crews, 16 engines, two dozers and 11 water tenders.
A public meeting will be held in Silver City today, Saturday, at 6 p.m. at the Grant County Administration Building located at 1400 US Highway 180 East. Additional meetings are held each morning at the Hillsboro Community Center at 10 a.m.
Gila National Forest officials want to remind the general public that the forest is open except in the restricted fire area.
Several agencies are assisting with the Silver Fire, they include the Grant and Sierra County Sheriff's Departments, NM State Police, Las Cruces BLM District, NM State Forestry and NM Department of Transportation.
To ensure public safety, the Aldo Leopold Wilderness has been closed east of NM State Highway 152 from the Continental Divide National ScenicTrail #74 south to Reeds Peak. NM State Highway 152 from San Lorenzo to Hillsboro remains closed. The road closure is for east and westbound traffic from 35 miles east of Bayard at mile marker 16 to 10 miles west of Hillsboro at mile marker 40. Trail #79 and the Royal John Mine Road are also closed for public safety. For more information see http://fs.usda.gov/gila or www.nmroads.com .
Silver Fire updates can be found on Inciweb .
Friday 9:45 p.m.
SAN LORENZO, NM – The Silver Fire received moisture over most of the fire today and as a result fire behavior remained moderate. Higher humidity helped crews battle the 21,400 acre fire.
Firefighters continue to focus on protection of structures and construction of containment line. Late today crews conducted two small firing operations one mile north of Kingston near the Black Colt Mine reinforcing structure protection.
To date firefighters have constructed approximately 20 miles of fire line with an additional 15 miles scouted. Silver Fire resources also assisted the Gila National Forest on a new fire near Georgetown.
There are 552 firefighters working the fire which include five helicopters, eight hotshot crews, five 20-person hand crews, 16 engines, two dozers and 11 water tenders.
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