Here’s a look at today’s headlines:
Incident management of the Black Fire north of Silver City has been transferred back to the Silver City Ranger District. Suppression efforts over the week have been highly successful, and resources assigned to the fire are being released. Silver City Hotshots, Silver City Fire and the 20-person initial attack crew from the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest will remain engaged in the fire. The Black Fire Emergency Road and Trail Closure Order remains in effect. Fire information will continue to be posted at the Gila National Forest Supervisors’ Office off the 32nd Street Bypass and at the Ben Lilly Memorial pull-off. The Black Fire is reported as 149 acres and 50% contained.
The Black Range Complex Fires on the Black Range Ranger District consist of two fires: the Kline Fire and the Cooney Fire. These lightning caused fires are located 65 miles northwest of Truth or Consequences. The Cooney Fire, located near Cooney Prairie, is approximately 3,800 acres and the Kline Fire near Kline Mountain is approximately 115 acres. The Black Range Complex Fires are currently 5% contained. Crews are monitoring low to moderate fire behavior to meet incident objectives.
The School Fire on the Reserve Ranger District remains active with the management perimeter. The fire has burned 7,315 acres and is currently 70% contained. The School Fire was started by lightning near the junction of Snow Lake and Willow Creek along Forest Road 28, Bursum Road. There are no campground or road closures due to fire activity, but visitors are asked to drive with caution and watch for fire personnel.
US Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich introduced the Buffalo Tract Protection Act in response to deep concerns from New Mexico communities about the negative impacts of a proposed gravel mine in the area of Sandoval County. The bill will withdraw four parcels of BLM lands, including the Buffalo Tract and the Crest of Montezuma, from any mineral development – including gravel mining.
Senators Heinrich and Udall also welcomed Senate passage of a bill to implement an annual Cost of Living Adjustment for veterans’ disability compensation. As of December 1, 2016, all veterans and their family members who receive service-related disability compensation through Wartime Disability Compensation, Compensation for Dependents, Dependency and Indemnity Compensation for surviving spouses and children, and clothing allowances will receive annual increases in their compensation. The bill passed the US House of Representatives earlier this month, so it now goes to the president to be signed into law.