Updated: Tuesday, 14 Jun 2011, 11:23 AM MDT
Published : Tuesday, 14 Jun 2011, 11:23 AM MDT
RESERVE, N.M. (KRQE) - Tackling a fire the size of the Wallow requires a lot of strategy and a lot of firefighters who are willing to do battle not only with the blaze itself, but the elements fueling it.
Firefighters have said from the beginning while the dry fuels are helping the blaze hang onto life, it’s the high winds that have spread the fire, pushing it closer and closer to New Mexico.
Those winds are also doing a number are also doing a number of the crews trying to get a handle on the fire.
“Just pushes all the smoke into you, makes it hard to see, hard to breathe, burns your throat, burns your eyes,” said Josh Lane, a firefighter out of Utah County.
However, that is only half the problems the winds are kicking up, with gusts up to 40 miles per hour they say you never know what could be flung your way.
“A lot of stuff’s picking up from the wind, so definitely a heads up, there’s a lot of hazards, a lot of things to look out for,” said Jennifer Moore, a firefighter out of Eugene, Oregon.
Despite the harsh conditions these wildland firefighters continue the battle.
On Sunday crews mopped up an area about 15 miles outside of Luna after a burnout Saturday night to create a good fire line so the Wallow would slow down.
Fire officials said that burnout was done just in time.
“It was headed right straight at Luna,” said Steve Morefield, a branch supervisor.
Morefield said crews were able to get the fire in check and they are hoping their work will continue to hold if the high winds continue.
No matter how rough the road ahead may be in taming this beast, the firefighters are in it until the end.
“We’ll do whatever it is we need to keep everybody safe and save whatever we can, obviously life is your number one priority but, we’ll do everything we can for them,” said Moore.
The fire management teams said since completing that burnout the risk to Luna has been greatly decreased.