GLENWOOD, N.M. (KRQE) - The monster fire drew that drew national attention to the Gila National Forest this year generated headlines but is only limiting recreation where the fire did the most damage, according to a statement from the U.S. Forest Service.
The Whitewater-Baldy Complex fire officially spread across nearly 300,000 acres from mid May into late June making it the largest forest fire in state history. That's about 10 percent of the forest with the blaze centered in and around the Mogollon Mountains.
But the Forest Service reports the area considered severely or moderately damaged covered just over 80,000 acres on the west side of the Gila Wilderness where some trails remain closed.
"The remainder of the forest continues to offer open spaces, solitude, wildlife observation, camping, hiking, backpacking, hunting and scenic drives," the Forest Service statement released Friday said. "Please call local District offices and communities for information about current conditions and closures."
The Catwalk National Recreation Area near Glenwood remains closed due to the continued risk of flash flooding from rains hitting the burn scar. The Mineral Creek Trail has reopened in the same area.
The historic mining community of Mogollon , saved from destruction by firefighters, also is again accessible with businesses open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays through Sundays during the summer season that ends on Oct. 14.
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