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Silver City, NM, May 15, 2019—For Immediate Release.  The Gila National Forest, Silver City Ranger District plans to conduct a broadcast burn during the week of May 21, conditions permitting. The project plan is to conduct prescribed burning on approximately 950 acres in the Cameron Creek Unit, located between Trail 243 (Wagon Wheel) and Forest Service Road 4241N. Burning will occur over a two-to-four day period. The fuels in this area include pinyon-juniper and grasslands. The district is closely monitoring onsite fuel conditions and forecasted weather. The Forest has implemented a temporary closure order, (Forest Order 06-19-006, map attached) which will prevent visitors from traversing the Big Tree Trail system. 

Objectives for the Cameron Creek Prescribed Burn include:

  • Introduced and maintaining fire across 50-80% of the landscape within the next decade.
  • Reducing natural and activity fuel accumulations.
  • Improving the Fort Bayard watershed and wildlife habitat.

The project boundaries have been prepared by brushing existing roads, and placing control lines.

Prescribed fires are one of the most effective tools available to resource managers for restoring fire-adapted ecosystems.  These fires mimic natural fires by reducing forest fuels, recycling nutrients and increasing habitat diversity.  Prescribed burns are designed to meet specific objectives, including providing community protection and promoting forest health.  Prescribed burns are always managed with firefighter and public safety as the first priority.

Smoke will be visible and could impact north of the Fort Bayard area and the Village of Santa Clara, and drift into the drainages of the Mimbres Valley during the early morning and late evening hours. Smoke from the prescribed burn will be monitored to ensure that the New Mexico Environment Department’s Air Quality Bureau regulations are being met.  A smoke monitor is set up at the Fort Bayard Medical Center, and live tracking can be found athttps://app.airsis.com/USFS/UnitMap for smoke monitor unit USFS1036.

Smoke-sensitive individuals and those with respiratory or heart disease should take precautionary measures.  Air quality information and health protection measures are posted online at the New Mexico Department of Health’s website:  https://nmtracking.org/fire.

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


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