Area firefighters combat flames, heat

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Thomas Garcia
QCS Senior Writer

Area fire departments have not only had to combat a series of wildland fires, they have also had to endure temperatures above the century mark.
“It’s a double-edge sword when you’re trying to fight fire in 100 degree temperatures,” said Rex Stall, Logan’s fire chief.

On Monday, Logan responded to a mutual aid call for a fire 10 miles east of Tucumcari near U.S. Highway 54.

The fire was reported at 2:15 a.m., Monday and to prevent the fire from spreading quickly additional fire departments were requested for assistance.

The fire burned 918 acres and took six hours to extinguish with units from District 1, 2, 3, Tucumcari, Logan and Quay responding.

Stall said members of the Logan department had returned from assisting in a fire in Harding County that consumed 10,000 acres earlier that morning.
He said the crew had assisted on the fire near Roy for 17 hours.

The fire was first reported on July 9 at Clavel Ranch near Roy and crews were still extinguishing hot spots on Monday, said Judy Casados of the Rosebud fire department.

Casados said members of the New Mexico Forestry Division’s Returning Heroes Wildland Crew arrived on Monday to assist in extinguishing hard to reach hot spots.

Stall said one of the challenges has been to make sure there is a large enough crew to cover their district while sending crews and trucks to mutual aid calls. He said during times of high heat they can rotate the crew members if needed.

Stall said the trucks carry bottled water to help keep the firefighters hydrated. He said recently the department switched out to its wildland fire fighting gear due to the heat.

Stall said there had been a lull in wildland fires and the department was still using its structural gear that is heavier. He said the wildland gear is lighter and reduces the strain from the heat for the firefighters out in the field.

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