Fire officials on the Lincoln National Forest’s Sacramento Ranger District plan to take advantage of favorable weather conditions as they resume prescribed burning operations in January. Two projects that firefighters will focus on are located south and east of Cloudcroft, NM. Winter weather provides an excellent burning environment, however, ignitions are dependent on fuel and weather conditions on the day of the burn. Cool daytime temperatures help moderate fire intensity; good ventilation ensures that smoke will disperse and result in minimal air quality impacts; predicted high winds can cause ignitions to be postponed. Projects include:
· Cox Canyon, 162 acres: slash piles; about 3 miles SE of Cloudcroft
· Spud Forks Piles, 1200 acres: slash piles; 10 miles E of Cloudcroft near County Road C7 (Dry Canyon).
Projects involve burning slash piles, which will be eliminated by lighting individual piles, progressing from one pile to the next, while conditions remain favorable. Fire managers monitor burning conditions closely to ensure that they are within the ranges that have been pre-identified in the burn plan. These prescribed fire projects will reduce fuel loads, which can help minimize potential wildfire risks. Public and firefighter safety are always primary objectives during fire-related activities and missions.
During ignitions, smoke may be visible from Cloudcroft and the surrounding area. Smoke sometimes settles into drainages and lower elevations at night, but usually dissipates by late-morning, as daytime temperatures increase. In the event that smoke is encountered on travel ways, motorists are advised to reduce travel speeds and turn lights on.
The public and media are discouraged from entering into the areas where prescribed burning is taking place, for their own safety and that of the firefighters. Please direct questions to Loretta Benavidez, Public Affairs Officer at 575-434-7290. Prescribed fire updates are posted athttp://nmfireinfo.com/
For more information about prescribed fire projects on the Sacramento Ranger District, please call the District Office at 575-682-2551, Mondaythrough Friday, 8:00 am to 4:30 pm. You can also find us atwww.fs.usda.gov/lincoln and follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LincolnUSForest