Firefighters quickly contained two wildfires caused by lightning on Lincoln National Forest land in Eddy and Lincoln counties Saturday.
The Bird Fire near Carlsbad burned two acres and the Peppin Fire Canyon near Capitan burned nearly three acres after reported detection Saturday afternoon, according to the New Mexico Fire Information website.
Detected near Bird Spring in Dark Canyon near Carlsbad, firefighters completed a fire line around the perimeter at about 9:30 a.m. Sunday. A helicopter also dropped some water on the fire, per the New Mexico Fire Information website.
Crews remained in "mop up" mode Sunday at the fire site near Dark Canyon Road, as they looked for and put out remaining spot fires associated with the larger wildfire.
Firefighters monitored the Peppin Canyon Fire Monday after it was detected Saturday around 3 p.m. on the north side of the Capitan Wilderness.
The Lincoln National Forest received more than 850 lightning strikes June 8 when a thunderstorm passed over the mountain ranges of southern New Mexico, producing more wind and lightning and not enough rain, the New Mexico Fire Information website stated.
The fire was on a prior burn scare and consumed dead brush and dead logs from a previous fire.
The Lincoln National Forest remained closed due to extreme fire danger and Stage Two fire restrictions remained in place in the National Forest.
Campfires are not allowed under Stage Two restrictions. Smoking is not allowed except within a closed vehicle or building. Fireworks are prohibited along flames from blasting, welding and operation of acetylene torches, read the Lincoln National Forest website.
Most counties and municipalities in Lincoln County and the Village of Ruidoso are also under fire restrictions.
Dry and windy conditions fueled other fires in the Lincoln National Forest in 2022.
The April 12 McBride Fire in Ruidoso burned 6,159 acres, 207 structures and two people died as people were evacuated.
The fire caused nearly $20 million in property damage and evacuation orders were lifted April 17.
A downed powerline caused 412 acres of pinon, juniper and ponderosa trees to burn in Nogal Canyon near Ruidoso.
The fire started the same day as the McBride Fire and burned eight structures.
A Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) team began assessments of both fires. BAER teams evaluated post-fire conditions and determine the potential for increased flooding, mudslides, and rockslides.
The team consisted of hydrologists, geologists, soil scientists, road engineers, botanists, biologists, and archeologists from both federal and state agencies. Efforts were focused on the protection of human life and safety, property, and critical cultural and natural resource values, according to the Forest Service.
Wildfires have not been limited to the Lincoln National Forest. The Hermits Peak and Calf Canyon Fire in northern New Mexico burned 320,000 acres and was 70 percent contained as of Sunday.
The Black Fire burning in the Gila National Forest in southern New Mexico scorched 304,000 acres and was 42 percent contained as of Sunday.
Drought continues in New Mexico
Eddy County was in "exceptional drought" conditions, the most severe drought class, as of June 7, per a drought monitor update issued by the National Weather Service (NWS) in Midland, Texas.
The same drought update indicated Lincoln County was in in extreme drought.
Continued heat and small chances for rain were forecast for Carlsbad by the NWS for this week.
Temperatures in the low to upper 80’s for the Ruidoso area were forecast by the NWS and thunderstorm chances were forecast for late this week.
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This article originally appeared on Carlsbad Current-Argus: Lightning-caused fires contained on Lincoln National Forest