Strong gusty winds kept firefighters in southwestern New Mexico on their toes Saturday, with their fiery opponent showing no signs of containment.
Efforts to contain the blaze across more than 82,000 acres of the Whitewater-Baldy Complex fire in the rugged Gila National Forest have thus far been unsuccessful, but officials were devising new strategies to protect the forest and surrounding communities, officials said.
“The strong winds are a red-flag warning. It’s a potential day of critical and extreme fire behavior,” fire information officer Cathie Schmidlin told the Los Angeles Times.
Firefighters plan to create a containment line along the north, east and west ends of the fire and begin a backfire operation to deplete any tinder and vegetation that could fuel the blaze, she said.