NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – The Pass Fire started on May 17 in the Gila National Forest near Forest Road 141, one mile east of Indian Creek Cabin and about a mile north of the Gila wilderness boundary. Officials say a lightning strike started the fire.

Multiple burn scars are around the fire and could limit the growth and ability for it to spread, according to officials. Firefighters are closely monitoring the fire as they allow it to burn “naturally in this fire-dependent ecosystem.”

Fire crews have successfully worked to create a fireline to prevent the fire from moving farther north. The southern area of the fire has spread into the Gila Wilderness. Because of the additional burning, smoke in the area has increased significantly, making the air quality worse.

  • Start Date: May 17, 2023
  • Location: 1 mile west of Wolf Hollow Campground, south of Highway 59
  • Containment: 0%
  • Size: 17,282 acres
  • Structures Threatened: No
  • Structures Burned: No
  • Evacuations: No
  • Cause: Lightning strike
  • Personnel: 151
  • Area Vegetation: Grass, pine needles, dead and down fuels, pine understory
  • Ownership(s): Unknown

“Responders have done some great work up to now, protecting values at risk and keeping the fire south of Highway 59, while allowing fire to play its natural role in the forest,” said Gila Las Cruces Zone Type 3 Team Leader Pete Valenzuela. “The work we’re doing is helping to restore resiliency to these lands and watersheds.”