The good news is that the Whitewater-Baldy wildfire is 37% contained. The largest wildfire in New Mexico state history, Whitewater-Baldy has torched 278,039 acres in the Gila National Forest, and it may not be done yet. Despite the partial containment, Inciweb lists the growth potential as “HIGH,” and the fact that it’s burning on “extremely” difficult terrain isn’t helping.
Meanwhile, Near Fort Collins, Colorado, the High Park Fire is viciously charring swaths of Larimer County. The fire is believed to have started just before 6 AM on Saturday; by Saturday night it covered about 8000 acres. A day later, the affected area had swelled to an estimated 20,000 acres. At this writing, Inciweb lists the fire as burning on 36,930 acres of land. “It’s spread in almost every direction,” Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith told the Denver Post. “It splinters to the south, and then it splinters to the east. I don’t know that we’ve ever seen anything like this before.” Thousands of evacuation notices have been issued, and federal firefighters were due to join the battle against the blaze today.
But a third fire may prove most threatening to Indian country. The Little Bear fire is currently burning near the town of Ruidoso, just on the border of the Mescalero Apache Reservation. The latest Inciweb data indicates that the fire has burned 34,561 acres. The fire is 0% contained and the tribe is concerned that it could damage Ski Apache, a ski area that is a major source of revenue.