Regional
8:52 am
Fri March 29, 2013

Wildfire Danger Rises

A combination of  low moisture, persistent drought, winds and warm weather in southeastern New Mexico has prompted Lincoln National Forest fire officials to elevate the Guadalupe Ranger District’s fire danger rating to HIGH, while the fire danger in higher elevations on the Smokey Bear and Sacramento Ranger Districts is described as MODERATE.

The fire danger rating helps describe the general conditions over an extended area. The HIGH rating indicates that all fine fuels, such a grass, can ignite easily and fires can start quickly from most causes; unattended campfires are likely to escape; fires can spread rapidly and short-distance spotting is common; high intensity burning may develop on slopes or in concentrations of fine fuels; fires may become large and their control difficult unless they are attacked successfully while small.

A fire danger rating of MODERATE means that fire can start from accidental causes, but the number of starts is generally low. Fires in open, cured grasslands will burn briskly and spread rapidly on windy days.  Timber fires spread slowly to moderately fast. The average fire is of moderate intensity, although heavy accumulations of fuels will burn hot. Short-distance spotting may occur, but is not persistent. Fire starts under these conditions are typically controlled quickly.

If you plan to be out and about this Easter weekend, please follow some simple safety tips:  

  • Make sure campfires are dead out!
  • Spark arrestors are required on chainsaws and off-road vehicles.
  • Don’t park vehicles on dry grass.
  • If you smoke, do so in areas that clear of vegetation and don’t toss cigarettes out.
  • Don’t burn on windy days!
  • Remember, it’s illegal to possess or use fireworks on public lands.