NMSU Looking At Role Of Grazing In Fire Prevention

Las Cruces, NM – LAS CRUCES, N.M. (KRWG) Researchers with New Mexico State University are studying whether targeted grazing strategies in certain ecosystems can help reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires.

Professor Derek Bailey and his fellow researchers say they are midway through the three-year study.

Their work is based on the premise that cattle tend to graze unevenly. Cattle usually stay close to water sources and that leaves an abundance of forage in more rugged areas away from water. In some cases, the neglected forage exacerbates fire danger.

Bailey says moderate levels of grazing could be used to strategically reduce those fine fuels and limit wildfire losses by reducing the rate of spread.

The study is being done at NMSU's research center in Corona and on a Forest Service grazing allotment in Arizona's Santa Rita Mountains.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. KRWG