USA — GILA, N.M. Residents who live near the Gila National Forest told KFOX14 that they’re worried flames will continue to spread and may destroy their homes or force them to evacuate.
So far, the Whitewater-Baldy Complex fire has reached nearly 133,000 acres.
Fire officials said it started as two separate fires believed to be sparked by lightning last Sunday. But by Tuesday, the two fires combined, forming a huge blaze that’s forced two towns to evacuate and has destroyed at least 13 homes.
At this point, barely 1percent of the fire is considered to be contained, and since drier air has moved into the area it’s likely the fire can spread through the steep terrain.
“The smoke’s really been boiling up pretty heavy,” Reserve resident Doug Baird said. “It’s in a real tough area where they couldn’t get to it very easily. There’s several of our friends, ranchers and all that have evacuated and are evacuating some of their animals right now. They’re trying to keep them out of the fire’s way.”
Fire officials said because of the strong wind gusts and lack of heavy rains, the fire isn’t expected to be fully contained until early or mid-July.