Silver Fire still largest burning wildfire in New Mexico

SILVER CITY, N.M. - The Silver Fire near Kingston, N.M., has grown more than 6,000 acres in the last 24 hours. It's still the largest burning wildfire in New Mexico.

Crews from all over the United States are stationed in New Mexico to help fight the Silver Fire.

"The fire activity is extreme today. We're in red flag conditions. We're experiencing relatively gusty winds, hot dry weather and low humidity," said Andrew Loescher, Silver Fire spokesman.

Over the past few weeks, the Silver Fire has burned through almost 80,000 acres of land.

Firefighters are struggling to get the flames under control, especially with high winds and rough terrain.

"It is a big fire. However, we've been fortunate not to have lost any homes. No fire fighters have been severely injured. While it is a big fire, we feel very fortunate that there has been a relatively low impact to the surrounding communities," Loescher told ABC-7.

Almost 500 people are working together to fight the fire.

"We had a couple of days where we saw some big growth and some days where we saw slower growth. That depends on the fuel the fire finds and the weather conditions that are pushing that fire. Every day, every hour can be different," Loescher said.

In just a few hours, ABC-7 crews watched a small plume of smoke grow into a massive cloud. Fire officials said as the winds pick up and the temperature heats up, the fire burns more intensely.

"The terrain is very rugged and steep. Getting access to the fire is difficult especially in a safe way. What (firefighters) are doing is making an indirect line and letting the fire come to us as opposed to us going to the fire," Loescher said.

Crews are working to stop the fire by creating fire breaks around the perimeter.

They are working around the clock to get it under control.

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