Whitewater Baldy Complex Fire Information

Whitewater Baldy Complex Wildfire Burning in Steep and Remote Terrain


The Whitewater-Baldy Fire Complex on the Gila National Forest, which is now the largest fire in recorded history in New Mexico, began as two separate lightning-caused fires in the Gila Wilderness. The Baldy Fire started on May 9th in a rugged, inaccessible area of the wilderness. Due to unsafe conditions and steep terrain, crews were unable to directly engage the fire to suppress it at the time.  The Whitewater Fire was spotted on May 16th, several miles west of the Baldy Fire and, from that first day, crews worked for full suppression of the fire. The extreme fire activity, coupled with incredibly rugged terrain and large boulders falling down the steep canyons forced fire crews to pull out of the area after the first day of fighting the fire. Safety of firefighters and the public is always the number one priority when fighting wildland fires.

On the second day of the Whitewater Fire, a Type 2 incident management team (IMT) was mobilized and began taking immediate actions to protect private property and suppress the Whitewater Fire including the construction of indirect line along N.M. State Highway 159 (aka Bursum Road). The two lightning-caused fires burned together on May 23rd as the Whitewater Fire moved to the east and the newly named Whitewater-Baldy Complex grew to over 70,000 acres during a day of sustained winds (40-50 m.p.h.) and extremely dry conditions due to prolonged drought conditions in the area. The next day, a Type 1 IMT was ordered to take over management of both fires beginning May 26th.


General Information

Main contact number:  575-388-8201

Original Forest and Wilderness Closure Map

Current Forest and Wilderness Closure Map

Fire Perimeter Map

Original Forest and Wilderness Closure Order

Current Wilderness Closure Order

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Burn Area Emergency Response (BAER) Information. 

Road Closures:  Click Here

Whitewater Baldy Fire Complex History

ALERT Precip Monitors  Instructions

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Dispatch Log File

These log files are "as is".  No information has been modified but for privacy reasons, some information has been redacted where indiviual names were used.

Whitewater Complex Fire Log:

Pages 1-26 contain aircraft timer documentation for the Whitewater Complex Wildfire May 16, 2012 - June 20, 2012.  Pages 26-48 document Whitewater Complex Fire communications with the Silver City Dispatch Center via radio, telephone, or in person.

Baldy Fire Log:

Pages 1-3 contain aircraft timer documentation for Baldy Wildfire May 9, 2012 - May 24, 2012. Pages 3-11 document Baldy Wildfire communications with the Silver City Dispatch Center via radio, telephone, or in person.

FS Personnel Conducting Burnout Operations