Whitewater-Baldy Complex Fire

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Whitewater-Baldy Complex Fire
Whitewater-Baldy Complex Fire
Location Gila National Forest, New Mexico
Date(s) May 9, 2012 as Baldy Fire[1]
12:00 am (MDT)
Ignition source Lightning strike[2]
Land use forest, wilderness, rural

The Whitewater-Baldy Complex Fire was a wildfire that started on May 9, 2012 in Catron County, New Mexico, USA.[2] As of July 23, the fire had burned more than 297,845 acres (465.383 sq mi; 120,534 ha) in Gila National Forest at 95% containment. This well surpassed the Las Conchas Fire of 2011, thus making Whitewater-Bald the largest wildfire in New Mexico state history.[3] The fire burned mostly within the Gila Wilderness, which includes the fire's namesake, Whitewater Baldy mountain.

Summary[edit]

The fire started as two separate fires, the Whitewater Fire which was detected on May 16 and the smaller Baldy Fire[1] that started earlier on May 9, both from lightning strikes.[4] The fires merged on 24 May.[4] The fire has burned more than a dozen residences, caused the evacuation of several small towns, and forced the closure of the Gila Cliffdwellings and the Catwalk Recreation Area above Glenwood, New Mexico.[5] Rain showers in mid-July helped firefighters reach 95% containment by July 23.

Government response[edit]

On May 15, 2012, as a result of the Whitewater-Baldy Complex Fire, Governor Susana Martinez declared the entire state of New Mexico to be in a drought. Martinez issued the formal drought declaration to help farmers, ranchers, and others secure federal drought funding. Martinez stated that in addition to "the work we’re doing at the state level to assist communities facing serious drought conditions, I’m hopeful this declaration will assist them in securing any available federal funding as well."[6][7] Martinez stated that "As a result of this fire, small businesses are unquestionably feeling the impact." As a result, she encouraged them to apply for SBA loans.[8] On June 8, Martinez declared Catron County, New Mexico to be in a state of emergency. The declaration made funds available for both state and local response to the fire, and for community needs.[9]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Badldy Fire". InciWeb. 23 May 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Inciweb.org. "Whitewater Baldy Complex". Retrieved 31 May 2012. 
  3. ^ "Whitewater-Baldy Complex fire now biggest ever in New Mexico". KOB. 30 May 2012. Retrieved 30 May 2012. 
  4. ^ a b "Gila fires merge into Whitewater-Baldy Complex". Las Cruces Sun News. 24 May 2012. 
  5. ^ "Whitewater-Baldy Fire: Thick smoke forces Cliff Dwellings to close". Las Cruces Sun News. 5 June 2012. 
  6. ^ "Martinez issues drought declaration". American City Business Journals. May 17, 2012. Retrieved June 7, 2012. 
  7. ^ "Record-setting NM fire expected to burn for weeks". Kansas City Star. June 1, 2012. Retrieved June 6, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Fire-impacted small businesses urged to seek SBA loans". American City Business Journals. May 29, 2012. Retrieved June 7, 2012. 
  9. ^ "NM governor declares emergency in Catron County due to fire". Las Cruces Sun-News. June 8, 2012. Retrieved June 8, 2012. 

External links[edit]