Multiple Lightning-Caused Fires on the Gila National Forest

Silver City, NM, June 14, 2017—For Immediate Release. In the past two months, the Gila National Forest has had approximately 16 lightning-caused fires on National Forest System lands.

The Gila NF is considered a frequent-fire forest, which means that many small wildfires, burning repeatedly on the same piece of ground, occur every fire season. Fire is a natural part of forest ecology and when weather and fuel conditions align, the Gila uses these fires to allow reintroduction of fire into the ecosystem. As a result of the lightning-caused fires occurring this year, fire has moved across 25,000 acres of the landscape in a safe and positive manner.  Fire improves forest health, restores wildlife habitat, reduces fuel load on the forest floor, and improves watersheds by allowing water to reach the ground and flow naturally into stream systems.

During these fires, we often have temporary closures; such as road closures, trail closures or other area closures for public and firefighter safety. Having fires on the Gila does not mean that the forest is closed! The Gila National Forest is open to visitors.

Living in the Southwest often means living in the wildland-urban interface and learning to protect your home from a wildland fire. There are tips on creating a defensible space available at the Firewise website http://www.firewise.org/.

For information on the Gila National Forest, check out our website at http://www.fs.usda.gov/gila or join the conversation on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GilaNForest/ or follow us on Twitter @GilaNForest.

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