From a news release this afternoon:
Gila National Forest personnel are expected to resume supervision of the Skates Fire today. The Arizona Central West Zone Incident Management Team projects total containment of the fire tonight. Forest personnel will oversee any remaining mop-up and land rehabilitation operations. Many firefighters demobilized Saturday, some returning to their home units while others responded to other fires to assist with those suppression efforts. Heavy demobilization of these resources begins today.
So, the final tally is looking to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 12,500 acres burned. At one point, close to 600 firefighters were assigned to the fire, with hundreds of Grant County residents evacuated from their homes. Nonetheless, there were no structures lost, and the Lake Roberts area will be relatively safe from fire for the foreseeable future.
Meanwhile, the Bear Fire is approaching 50,000 acres, though crews made excellent progress on the blaze during the weekend. In addition, it was determined that the fire was human-caused, by an illegal campfire. If you know anything about the start of the fire, the Forest Service is offering a $5,000 reward.
I spent Friday at the Grant County Airport, site of the Southwest Fire Cache. The cache is a national system, and the one here in Grant County services all of New Mexico and parts of Arizona and Texas as well. In addition, the airport serves as a base for aerial firefighting operations. See tomorrow’s Daily Press for more info.
I’ll be back in the morning with some info on the training I attended last week, and we’ll be back to normal discussion tomorrow afternoon. Thanks for hanging with me through this fire mess.