Wildfire in Guadalupe Mountains National Park

“It’s prompted the closure of a large part of the national park backcountry.”

By Tom MichaelMay 10, 2016 9:30 am,

From Marfa Public Radio

Over the past several days in Far West Texas, with dry and windy conditions, volunteer fire departments have been dealing with a series of small wildfires: near Alpine, near Valentine, and in a national park.

It started Saturday afternoon, ignited by a lightning strike, in the northwest corner of Guadalupe Mountains National Park. By Tuesday morning, the grassland fire had grown to more than 4,500 acres.

Drew Stuart, a reporter in Hudspeth County, said, “We’ve had very intense winds, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and continue to have strong winds here, which has caused the fire to expand and to move north and west from its original location. It started near Coyote Peak, which is the northern edge of the Guadalupe National Mountains and Guadalupe Mountains National Park.”

More than 170 firefighters are assigned to the blaze, based out of Queens, New Mexico. Beginning Sunday, they focused their efforts from above, using three air tankers and a helicopter along the fire’s northern perimeter.

“It’s prompted the closure of a large part of the national park backcountry,” said Stuart. “The whole north side of Guadalupe Mountains National Park was closed as of Monday.”

No structures are threatened. High winds are forecast through Wednesday.