SimTable on KOB Eyewitness News

As the Wallow Fire in Arizona continues to burn towards New Mexico, a wild simulation company based out of Santa Fe is using some of the latest technology to track and model the fire.

With the projector off- the table is simply a box of sand- but with the flip of a switch SimTable operators can present 3D layouts of a fire and simulate its direction and burn patterns. The system also can model weather patterns, account for different types of fuel and how they burn, topography and fire fighting methods.

On Thursday Chas Curtis showed KOB Eyewitness News 4 a detailed topographical representation of the Wallow Fire and its surrounding areas pointing out the various fuel sources the fire is burning as it approaches the New Mexico border.

When a fire gets this big Mother Nature is in control and the winds are going to be the biggest factor, said Curtis.

So far Northeast winds have propelled the fire through dense areas of heavy fuel in Arizonas Apache National Forest.

What we see is it really scooped up and grew significantly, Curtis demonstrates out as he animates the fires progression on the 5th day as it spreads out towards Alpine, Arizona.

Just north of the fire in Arizona and parts of New Mexico, The SimTable projects low fuel areas that consist of some high grasses and somewhat flat desert landscapes.

Curtis says the more level topography and lower levels of vegetation will likely help firefighters with containment but east toward the town of Luna in New Mexico, ridges and more fuel opportunities for the fire could be trouble for crews working to protect the area.

As a laser pointer glides along the SimTable near Luna, the types of trees are instantly displayed.

You can see we are in very similar high density fuel types, Curtis explains as he points out dense areas of timber and hardwood types.

The SimTable also shows the fire heading toward an important power line in New Mexico.

This black line here is a power line that is running from the Palo Verde nuclear power plant and supplies much of southern New Mexico and East Texas, says Curtis as he traces the line from north to south.

Curtis tells KOB that two SimTables are currently in Reserve, New Mexico running simulations on the fire and providing information to the public on the fires behavior.