Fire forces Kingston residents out

Posted at: 06/10/2013 5:16 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4

A wildfire burning in the Gila National Forest has forced the evacuation of the tiny village of Kingston, in the Mimbres Mountains east of Silver City.

Only about 45 people live in the old wild west mining town, and tonight most of them are sheltering in nearby Hillsboro. The Silver Fire, as firefighters are calling it, has burned about two square miles. Lightning started it. The evacuation order went out at about 2:00 a.m.

“We’re looking at an area that’s extremely rugged,” said Dave Boyd with the fire management team. “We’re dealing with extreme fire conditions. Quite a bit of vegetation and fuel has built up in this area. It actually hasn’t burned in more than a hundred years, which is unusual for this area.”

Boyd said the mountainsides are full of dead pine trees, killed off by bark beetles. They’re burning fast. Highway 152 is closed west of Hillsboro. Five helicopters are dumping retardant on the flames.

There is a public meeting with the fire management team in Hillsboro beginning at 7:00 p.m., in the community center.