Photographed May 29, 2012 by Jesse James Parker
The Whitewater-Baldy Complex Fire is a wildfire that started on May 9, 2012 in Catron County, New Mexico, USA. As of June 06, the fire had burned more than 263,000 acres (411 sq mi; 106,000 ha) in Gila National Forest, surpassing the Las Conchas Fire of 2011 to become the largest wildfire in New Mexico state history. Much of the fire is burning in the Gila Wilderness, which includes the fire's namesake, Whitewater Baldy mountain.
The fire started as two separate fires, the Whitewater Fire which was detected on May 16th and the smaller Baldy Fire that started earlier on May 9th, both from lightening strikes. The fires merged together on 24 May.The fire has burned more than a dozen residences, caused the evacuation of several small towns, and forced the closure of the Gila Cliffdwellings and the Catwalk Recreation Area above Glenwood, New Mexico.