Smoke from the Hutchinson Fire in the San Mateos was visible from Highway 107 last weekend.
Photos courtesy USFS.

Lightning was the cause of two new wildfires in Socorro County last week, according to Cibola National Forest and Grasslands, both in the Magdalena Ranger District.

The Hutchinson Fire, located in remote mountainous terrain in central-west San Mateo Mountains, started on Sunday, July 23, and is being attacked by Wallowa-Whitman National Forest Engine 653 and Magdalena Ranger District Crew 3. The Hutchinson Fire exhibited moderate fire behavior and was zero percent contained as of Tuesday.

The Hutchinson Fire is not a threat to any values at risk or communities, and there are no evacuations in effect.

The Rowden Tank Fire, also located in remote mountainous terrain in the northwest Magdalena Mountains, started on July 19 and burned 7.5 acres. Responding to that fire were the Magdalena Ranger District Apache Kid crew, Firestorm initial attack hand crews and air resources. As of Tuesday, the Rowden Tank was exhibiting minimal fire behavior.

Earlier this month, a lightning strike on July 14 was the cause of the Hardy Fire, southwest of Italian Peak in the Magdalena Mountains. Responding to the fire were the USFA Salmon Rappelers from Central Idaho, Lincoln National Forest Smokey Bear Hot Shots, Wallowa-Whitman National Forest Engine 653, Magdalena Ranger District Engine 632 and air resources. As of Tuesday, the Hardy fire is zero percent contained and exhibiting moderate fire behavior.

Crews continue to mop up and secure the fire perimeter for the Whiskey Hill fire in the Magdalena Mountains. That fire started July 11 and is 100 percent contained at 940 acres.

Idaho City Hot Shots on the Water Canyon Wildfire in the Magdalena Ranger District.

The Water Canyon fire started on July 10 and burned 71 acres. Crews continue to mop up and secure the perimeter.

Elsewhere, firefighters are battling no less than eight other wildfires in the state.

Yolynda Begay, Cibola National Forest and Grasslands Deputy Forest Supervisor, cited the teamwork of firefighters from the various agencies for their successful efforts in fighting the Water Canyon wildfire.

“In addition to our Cibola National Forest’s fire managers and support staff, we extend our appreciation to all of the responders to the Water Canyon Fire,” Begay said. “This includes USFS Salmon Helicopter Rappelers from Central Idaho, Lincoln NF Smokey Bear Hot Shots, Idaho City Hot Shots, and aerial resources. Without these highly skilled crews, the response to the Water Canyon Fire would have been much more difficult.”

Begay also commended the response to the Whiskey Hill wildfire, recognizing firefighters from the Forest Service, State Forestry, and the Bureau of Land Management.

“The fewer human-caused fires there are, the more firefighters, aircraft, and equipment there will be available to respond to fires caused by lightning,” she said. “The challenging work that the interagency fire community does to protect communities, critical infrastructure and natural resources continues to support our mission of caring for the land and serving people.”

The fire danger at Magdalena Ranger Station remains “Very High.”

Although no structures were burned in the above wildfires, New Mexico State Forestry reminds the public that wildlife preparedness is year-round and it is vital to have an emergency kit and an evacuation plan in place.

“Whether you live in the wildland-urban interface or in a rural area in the mountains, communication is key during wildfire season,” the agency said. “Monitor fire weather conditions and fire status. Have an evacuation plan for your family and pets, and ensure all family members have a copy of evacuation and contact information.”