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Kingston residents glad to be back home
Tuesday, June 25, 2013 - 12:36am
San Lorenzo, N.M. — The Silver Fire in the Gila National Forest has now scorched 80,000 acres and is still only 20 percent contained as of Monday evening.
Strengthened by strong winds the fire quickly grew over the weekend and continued to tear through thousands of acres of dry land that hasn't experienced a wildfire in about a hundred years.
"Anything and everything out there is available to burn so we have a lot of fuel out there," said Northern Arizona Type II Management Team Spokesperson Kevin Bailey.
The fire has not destroyed any structures but did come close to homes in Kingston forcing the evacuation of the small New Mexico town.
Residents were were told to prepare for possible evacuations and were evacuated June 10th in the middle of the night.
"We had pretty close to about four hours and right about 1:30 a.m. we had to go," said Kingston resident Jack Stewart.
For the next 11 days Stewart nervously waited while crews battled the fire and hoped his home would be safe.
When they were allowed back home, they saw a flare up about 50 feet from their property but their house was completely safe.
"It was a blessing," Stewart said. "I know the lord took care of us and all of the people that he sent here are just fine fine people."
There's been about 600 firefighters from the Northern Arizona and New Mexico Type II Incident Management Teams that have been working on containing the fire that was originally sparked by lightning.
"We do have fire line around the southern half of the fire and we're currently working towards the north on both the east and west sides," Bailey said.
Crews are on the line 24 hours a day and are able to camp out on the line during rotating shifts.
After 14 days the Nothern Arizona team handed over the reigns to the New Mexico team that will continue working on containing the fire.