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Silver City, NM, April 14, 2018—Warmer temperatures and high spring winds are increasing fire danger on the Gila National Forest. In addition, fire crews and forest visitors have been reporting an increase in abandoned campfires in and around the Gila National Forest.

A fire danger rating of HIGH is defined as “all fine dead fuels ignite readily and fires start easily from most causes.” Unattended brush and camp fires are likely to escape. Fires spread rapidly and short-distance spotting is common. Fires may become serious and their control difficult unless they are attacked successfully while small. Outdoor burning should be restricted.

Fire managers consider several factors when elevating the fire danger level. Data from Remote Weather Stations (RAWS) located across the forest are aggregated together, producing the Energy Release Component (ERC). As live fuels cure and dead fuels dry, the ERC will increase and can be described as a build-up index. Each daily calculation considers the past 7 days in calculating the new number. Fire managers and planners have found that the ERC can be used as a decision tool to prepare for an approaching fire season. This data is evaluated in addition to the number of human-caused fires, red flag and critical fire days.

Please be vigilant of the high winds and rising temperatures and avoid using anything with an open flame or a spark. If mowing grass down, use a string-style trimmer rather than a lawn mower as the blades can strike rock and produce a spark. Make sure that your chain saw has a spark arrestor, that your trailer chains are not dragging and that all cigarettes are extinguished in an ashtray. #OneLessSpark #OneLess Fire

Please report fires and abandoned campfires to the Silver City Interagency Dispatch at 1-800-538-1644.

For information on the Gila National Forest, check out our website at http://www.fs.usda.gov/gila 

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Editor's Note

The Grant County Beat continues to bring you new columnists. New this past week are the Christian Corner, for those who are already Christians or are exploring the beliefs.

The second is a business-centered column—Your Business Connection by the New Mexico Business Coalition. The group works to make policy in the state of New Mexico better for all businesses, large and small.

The Beat has a new column for you gardeners out there. The Grant County Extension Service will bring you monthly columns on gardening issues. The first one posted is on Winterizing your houseplants and patio plants.

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