Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Silver Fire-Gila National Forest

Mimbres River

Mimbres River, Mcknight Canyon

Gallinas Creek

Gallinas Creek

Las Animas Creek

Las Animas Creek
I went out and looked at what I could of the Silver Fire damage. NM 152 is open now but almost all other forest trails and roads are closed. FR 157 may be open for  at least a few miles,but I didn't check on it because I was in the Corolla and not the Tacoma. First the good news: the camping corridor( Iron Creek, Railroad Canyon, Upper and Lower Gallinas ) is still pretty green.  Middle Percha creek directly west of Kingston was still green and many parts of the east side had what is called a mosaic burn. Also, what I could see coming down the west side of the Black Range( Noonday Canyon, Rabb Park, Gallinas)  was mostly untouched. Now for the bad: the exception to the west side greeenery was  a large area down to about 7,500 feet both north and south of Sawyer's Peak( basically the whole large mountaintop). That area looked to be completely black, burned by a very hot fire. On the east side,  much of the South Percha drainage was scorched earth as well: just black stumps and dirt. I  drove up to the confluence of Mcknight and Mimbres Canyons. The Mimbres had been flooding, and both streams  were an opaque slurry of ash laden water. These streams have( had?) trout populations. Mcknight contained Gila trout of the Diamond Creek lineage. The lower Mimbres also contains the only population of the Chihuahuan Chub in the U.S. Gallinas Creek along the highway was black  and had been flooding the road .  Spring Canyon( a  Gallinas tributary),  which has one of my favorite little hiking trails, was a muddy mess.Tierra Blanca Creek had laid some ash over the road( NM 27) and North Seco was  black mud where it runs under NM 187.
     Nearby and more concerning was Las Animas Creek which was flowing all the way to the lake and was black with ash. In its upper reaches, this is( was?) a trout stream as well. I talked to a man at Emory Pass who lives on a normally dry stretch of the Mimbres, who had water lapping at his door after one storm. There is definite danger for the town of Hillsboro from flooding for the rest of the summer,but so far it  hasn't rained much. South Percha is very bad, and North Percha and it's tributaries( Carbonate, Mineral Creek) may  be bad as well.


Bob Barnes said...

Nice blog. I would like to link to it off of The Black Range Rag, www.blackrange.org. Please contact me at rabarnes@blackrange.org if that would be okay with you.

Midwest Aerospace Engineer said...

Thanks for the information. Planning a hike in this area in Sept., trying to figure out what trails are still usable, what campsites will still be ok.
Midwest Aerospace Engineer

devon said...

Many trails are closed. Be sure to check with the Forest Service. I visited the area along FR 157 S. It wasn't too bad up to Carbonate Creek. Beyond that I don't know.