Wildland Fire Heads Toward N.M. Missile Range

Wildland Fire Heads Toward N.M. Missile Range

26 April 2011

published by www.firehouse.com

USA — Whipped by gusts of up to 55 mph, the Abrams Fire crested the peaks of the Organ Mountains Tuesday, prompting some officials to ask residents to prepare for a possible evacuation.

White Sands Missile Range personnel were asked Tuesday afternoon to make plans in case the fire headed down the mountain and their families had to be evacuated, according to an installation-wide e-mail shared by spokeswoman Monte Marlin.

While cautioning that the fire posed “no imminent danger” yet, the e-mail said emergency crews would begin to cut fire breaks west of the main post and “may burn small sections of vegetation near the main post area to prevent the fire from threatening our houses.”

WSMR is preparing an on-post evacuation area and have “recommended that each resident prepare a bag of essential items such as clothing, medicines and official documents (passports, shot records, legal documents) etc. to support an overnight stay in the unlikely event the fire makes its way next to our housing area.”

Heavy winds Tuesday prevented aircraft from being able to drop water on the fire and its treacherous location made it impossible for firefighters to access the flames, Marlin said.

The fire, which began Thursday on Fort Bliss land during a training exercise involving an Abrams tank, has scorched almost 7,000 remote acres of freeze-killed brush and trees on the eastern side of the Organ Mountains, according to Bureau of Land Management spokesman Rico Smith.

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