The 16-day-old Pine Lodge Fire had reached 15,044 acres by Friday morning, as the Pecos Type 3 Interagency Management Command Team transferred command of fighting the fire in the Lincoln National Forest back to the Smokey Bear Ranger District.
A news release stated the transfer of command took place at 6 a.m. Friday. Fire officials will continue to staff the fire at needed levels, but because fire behavior is minimal and rehabilitation work within the affected area is complete, some fire personnel are being released to other incidents.
The Pine Lodge Fire as of Friday morning was 52% contained. The containment percentage is likely to remain the same throughout the coming days and weeks, despite minimal fire activity, mainly because portions of the fire within the wilderness are not accessible to crews.
However, rain Thursday minimized fire growth in the wilderness areas. More rain is in the forecast for the weekend.
Firefighters on the scene of the blaze have worked to mop-up hotspots within the perimeter of the fire and patrol completed fire lines, according to the press release.
“Unburned pockets of vegetation will continue to burn within the fire’s established perimeter, and smoke may be visible,” the release states.
The release states that a forest closure is in place for the Capitan Mountains east of Capitan Gap and the public is barred from entering the area. All other areas within the Smokey Bear Ranger District though are open for recreation.
Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at email@example.com.