SFNF to Manage Lightning-Caused Fire on Cuba Ranger District for Resource Benefits

SANTA FE, NM – July 21, 2017 – For Immediate Release.  A lightning strike just north of Llaves on Tuesday started the low-intensity Alameda Fire, giving fire managers on the Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) the opportunity to use a natural ignition to restore fire to the landscape and achieve multiple resource benefits.

The Alameda Fire is approximately 9 acres just north of Dead Man Lookout. Fire managers look at the fire’s location, conditions on the ground, and weather, including predicted monsoonal moisture, to assess risks and predict fire behavior.  The analysis determined that the Alameda Fire is a good candidate to manage for multiple objectives, including mitigating the risk of future high-intensity wildfire and improving forest health and habitat diversity.

Historically, low-intensity wildfires burned through southwestern forests like the SFNF every seven to 15 years as part of a natural cycle that removed leaf litter, eradicated disease and thinned the understory, making room for new growth. Managing a lightning-caused ignition like the Alameda Fire mimics that natural process.

Additional fire may be added to the landscape under controlled conditions to direct fire growth into areas where it will accomplish the most benefit for the land. Firefighter and public safety are always the first priority on all fire incidents. The decreased complexity of managing a natural ignition provides forest managers greater control over fire effects.

Smoke from the Alameda Fire may be visible from La Jara, Cuba, Regina, Lindrith, El Vado, Chama, Abiquiu, Tierra Amarilla, Highway 96 and US Highway 84. Smoke from the Alameda Fire will be monitored to ensure that New Mexico Environment Department’s Air Quality Bureau regulations are met.  Smoke-sensitive individuals and people with respiratory or heart disease are encouraged to take precautionary measures. Information on air quality and protecting your health can be found online at the New Mexico Department of Health’s website at https://nmtracking.org/fire.

Fire updates are posted on the New Mexico Fire Information website at nmfireinfo.com and on @SantaFeNF and www.facebook.com/SantaFeNF.  For additional information, contact the Cuba Ranger District at 575.289.3264.

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