I found this map the other day. At first I thought the entire western half of the Gila was burned to a crisp, but this map makes it look like much of it was actually only lightly scorched. Has anyone been there lately? What does the area look like? It seems that maybe Whitewater Baldy might actually deserve its name now...
There's definitely good news in that map. It looks like the deep canyons and riparian areas fared pretty well, and they're the true treasures of the Gila, much more so than the peaks imo. But that's a big zone of severe burn on top of the Mogollons. If you dig around, you can find Forest Service photos of the top of Whitewater Creek, and it does look bad. I imagine flooding will be a big concern for several years. It may have been a small mercy for that area that last summer's monsoons were weak.
That trails in that area have remained closed since the fire, so I don't think anyone but the Forest Service could give you a first-hand account. I'm hoping to get down there this year, but I think I'll be heading to the Middle and West Forks (before they burn; could we PLEASE have some halfway decent snow down here?).
Best part ought to be the ponderosa pine parks which were in decent shape before by having had other recent fires. McKenna has burned over 2x since 2003. Hopefully it will do so again in the next 5 years.