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Official Agency Press Releases and/or Restriction and Closure Orders for New Mexico

Date: February 19, 2014
Early Start to Potentially Volitile Fire Season in SW New Mexico
February 19, 2014, Silver City, NM- With warm and dry weather trending, the Gila National Forest is experiencing an increase in wildfire ignitions. The SU Canyon Fire near Reserve, New Mexico was reported on February 13th, burning a slash disposal sight and 7 acres of grasslands. Fire behavior was light and fire personnel quickly contained the fire later that afternoon. The McComas Peak Fire was reported the afternoon of February 15th and grew to a quarter acre in size, burning in piñon, juniper, and grass. The fire was declared out early the following morning. Both fires were human-caused and are currently under investigation.

Several other fires on private lands have been reported indicating the need for forest users as well as area residents to raise their awareness of the potentially volatile fire situation this spring. The warm weather combined with high grasses and careless behavior has Gabe Holguin, Fire Staff for the Gila National Forest, concerned about the potential for a devastating fire event, particularly in areas where homes are surrounded by drought-stressed vegetation. “There is absolutely no room for carelessness with fire,” he states. “We have waist-high grasses in most places as a result of the strong monsoon last summer, and low moisture in the trees and brush. We need people to be extremely cautious with any form of fire.”

Taking precautions with fire means leaving campfires only when completely cold, cold enough to put your hand in the ashes. Taking care not to drive on cured grass, disposing of stove and grill ash by soaking in water, and welding only in an area devoid of all flammable material is critical in keeping accidental fires from occurring. Do not attempt any use of fire on windy days, as fires will progress quickly and become extremely dangerous for fire personnel, forest visitors, and area residents. “We are in fire season right now,” reiterates Kelly Russell, Forest Supervisor for the Gila National Forest. “We experienced a very tragic fire season last year. We cannot afford more lives lost. We need everyone to do their part in preventing fires.”

Information on fire preparedness can be found at www.Firewise.org and www.wildlandfireRSG.org. Additionally, local fire personnel are participating in the Silver City/Grant County Symposium on Preparedness on March 7 and 8, 2014, and encourages the public to attend. Please see www.scneighborsalliance.com for details. For additional information, please contact the Gila National Forest at 575-388-8201.

Date: February 12, 2014
Celebrate Spring Renewal at the Fire and Ice Restoration Festival
SANTA FE, NM; February 11, 2014—The public is invited to celebrate the beauty of winter and the coming of spring at the annual Fire and Ice Restoration Festival. The event, hosted by Santa Fe National Forest’s Jemez Ranger District and the Village of Jemez Springs, will be held on February 22, from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. at Father Fitzgerald Park in Jemez Springs, New Mexico.

This free community event will feature educational booths and presentations that highlight the 210,000 acre Southwest Jemez Mountains Landscape Restoration Project. Special guests will include Smokey Bear and Woodsy Owl.

Fun and unique activities are scheduled throughout the day, including a chain saw carving competition and exhibition, cross-cut saw contest, chicken bingo, arts and crafts, and the famous Jemez duck race. Children will enjoy face painting, a jump house, and much more. Entertainment will be provided by Band of Enchantment and Austin Van Landingham. A variety of delicious food and beverages will be offered by vendors. Participants can also enjoy a rejuvenating soak in the local hot springs.

Free parking and a shuttle service will be provided to and from the festival. This service will be available at Jemez Springs Community Park, next to Jemez Valley Credit Union. This is located an easy half mile walk south of Father Fitzgerald Park. Limited accessible parking will be available on-site.

For information on vendor booths or to volunteer at the festival, please contact call Melisa at 575-834-0368, or oregonnewmexico@gmail.com. For information on the Southwest Jemez Mountains Restoration Project or related presentations, please contact Phyllis at 505-438-5431, or pashmead@fs.fed.us.

Date: February 12, 2014
Santa Fe National Forest fire managers plan to treat 80 acres of slash piles
Wednesday, February 12, fire managers plan to treat 80 acres of slash piles with prescribed fire within the Santa Fe Watershed, located approximately 3 miles east/northeast of the City of Santa Fe

Santa Fe Watershed Pile Prescribed Burn, Española RD

•Slash piles consist of branches, limbs, brush, and other debris that were thinned with chainsaws where mechanical equipment could not be used due to steep terrain. After thinning, slash is piled, dried, and burned during winter when snow is on the ground to keep fire from spreading to surrounding vegetation.

•The purpose of the burn is to reduce hazardous fuels, provide community and watershed protection, and restore forest health.

·Smoke will be visible from U.S. 84/285, I-25, NM 475, Santa Fe, Tesuque, Pojoaque, Pecos, and possibly Las Vegas.

•Smoke-sensitive individuals and people with respiratory problems are urged to stay indoors with windows and doors closed when possible.

•Smoke from prescribed fires is considerably less and of a shorter duration than smoke from wildfires that can burn for weeks and even months at a time.

•The Santa Fe National Forest is committed to protecting sensitive areas from smoke to the greatest extent possible. All prescribed burning is coordinated with NM Air Quality Bureau.

•Prior to actual ignition, fire managers will be considering many factors including: snow on the ground, fuel moisture levels, current and projected weather forecasts, fire personnel resources available, and air quality. All these factors need to be in alignment in order to carry out a successful prescribed burn treatment.

Date: February 6, 2014
Gila National Forest Spring Prescribed Fires Scheduled on Quemado RD
Quemado, NM; February 5, 2014--Pending favorable weather conditions, the Quemado Ranger District on the Gila National Forest will be conducting two prescribed fires. The Wallow Roadside debris pile ignitions will commence the week of February 18, 2014. Slaughter Mesa Unit 4 broadcast prescribed fire is planned for ignition between February 24 – April 30, 2014.

Wallow Roadside Planned Acreage:

•180 acres located north and west of the Community of Luna within the burned area of the 2011 Wallow Fire.

Objectives: remove slash piles to reduce fire danger.

Slaughter Mesa Unit 4 planned acreage:

•4374 acres located approximately 20 miles south/southeast of Quemado, NM.

Objectives: improve wildlife habitat, watershed conditions, and reduce fire danger

Smoke will be visible in the Community of Luna, in the Quemado Lake, Mangas, Apache Creek, Aragon, and Armijo Springs areas during early morning and evening hours and is expected to decrease as daytime temperatures increase.

Fire personnel will closely monitor the progress of the two burns. Implementation of projects is expected to last up to two weeks with minimal smoke visible for a few more weeks.

For additional information, contact the Quemado Ranger District at 575-773-4678.

Ellen C. Brown
Fire Prevention/Education/Mitigation
Fire and Aviation Management
Gila National Forest, R3

Early Start to Potentially Volitile Fire Season in SW New Mexico
Celebrate Spring Renewal at the Fire and Ice Restoration Festival
Santa Fe National Forest fire managers plan to treat 80 acres of slash piles
Gila National Forest Spring Prescribed Fires Scheduled on Quemado RD

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