Whitewater–Baldy complex Fire
This article needs to be updated.(October 2012)
|Whitewater-Baldy Complex Fire|
|Location||Gila National Forest, New Mexico|
|Date(s)||May 16, 2012 – October 4, 2012|
|Burned area||297,845 acres (1,205 km2)|
The Whitewater–Baldy complex Fire was a wildfire that started on May 9, 2012 in Catron County, New Mexico, USA. 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–Baldy the largest wildfire in New Mexico state history. The fire burned mostly within the Gila Wilderness, which includes the fire's namesake, Whitewater Baldy mountain.
The fire started as two separate fires, the Whitewater fire which was detected on May 16 and the smaller Baldy fire that started earlier on May 9, both from lightning strikes. The fires merged on 24 May. 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. Rain showers in mid-July helped firefighters reach 95% containment by July 23.
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." 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. 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.
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