Lincoln National Forest Manages 588 Fire on Smokey Bear Ranger District

ALAMOGORDO, RUIDOSO, NM, June 2, 2016 – Fire officials on the Lincoln National Forest have made the decision to manage the 588 Fire for multiple objectives. This lightning-caused fire was discovered on the evening of May 31 and is located about 4 miles south of Glencoe, NM. Wildfires that are ignited naturally (by lightning) may be candidates for this type of management, given the ignition occurs in the right place at the right time. Over the past two days, the fire behavior on the 588 Fire has been described as “creeping” through grass with small flames (up to 3-inches), resulting in growth to 3 acres, as of today.  The over-story is predominantly piñon juniper with some occasional ponderosa pine trees.

Management of the 588 Fire for multiple objectives can benefit the health of the forest by reducing hazardous fuel accumulations, improving wildlife habitat and restoring overall forest health. An added benefit includes improvement to cattle grazing allotments, as well.  While the fire will be able to move naturally within a predesignated area, its intensity can change as weather and fuel conditions change. Hotter, drier weather will result in increased fire behavior, while cooler, possibly wetter weather will minimize the fire behavior.  Fire intensity is expected to increase as it consumes larger-sized vegetation, such as piñon juniper trees, downed logs and branches.

“The timing for managing a fire for multiple objectives is appropriate now because we’re close to the probable end of the fire season, which is when the monsoons set up in early July, and, although we are in fire season, the pulses of cooler weather and scattered rain showers contribute to moderated fire behavior,” said Ryan Whiteaker, Forest Fire Management Officer. “It is a narrow window or timeframe during which time we can implement a strategy to manage for multiple objectives. This fire may have a lifespan of 4-6 weeks, burning at different intensities as it moves across the landscape,” Whiteaker added.

Smoke will vary and will be directly related to the amount of fuel being consumed or burned at any given time. During a wildfire, if visibility becomes lower because of smoke, please visit the NM Department of Health’s smoke page: https://nmtracking.org/fire

This fire is staffed with approximately 30 personnel from the Forest Service. In this case, the role of the firefighter is to monitor, check and direct the spread or movement of the fire. In some instances, firefighters will protect improvements such as fences, PVC water pipelines on grazing allotments, and other structures or infrastructure that are present in the general area or vicinity of the fire. Protection of these improvements is often attained by using fire to conduct low intensity “burn out” operations creating a protective barrier between the improvement and the active fire.

Fire officials expect the fire to gain size (acreage) as it spreads over land in the next few days and possibly throughout the month of June. Updates will be provided on a regular basis.  The number of personnel or resources assigned may vary, as well, depending on the fire activity. At this time, updates are being posted on www.nmfireinfo.com

For more information about the Lincoln National Forest, visit www.fs.usda.gov/lincoln follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/LincolnUSForest

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