Lincoln National Forest’s Fire Danger elevates to HIGH

ALAMOGORDO, RUIDOSO, CLOUDCROFT, CARLSBAD, NM – As temperatures increase and drying winds become a frequent, almost daily occurrence, the potential for wildland fire starts increases significantly. Based on current weather and fuel conditions, along with the increase in visitors and recreational activities on the Forest, the Fire Danger Rating will be elevated to HIGH, effective Friday, April 6th at 8:00 am and extends across the entire forest, which includes Smokey Bear, Sacramento and Guadalupe Ranger Districts.

A fire danger rating of HIGH means that fine dead fuels will ignite readily and fires will start easily from most causes. Unattended brush and campfires are likely to escape. Fires will spread rapidly and short-distance spotting is common. High-intensity burning may develop on slopes or in concentrations of fine fuels. Fires may become serious and their control difficult unless they are attacked successfully while small in size.

“Although the fire danger rating has been elevated to HIGH, there are still no fire restrictions in place. Forest visitors should be aware of the conditions on the Lincoln National Forest and do their part to help prevent unwanted wildfires,” said Ryan Whiteaker Fire Staff Officer. “As the season progresses, we may still have opportunities to conduct prescribed fire operations, but the determination to move forward with ignitions, on any given day, will be based on site-specific conditions and prescriptions for individual projects,” Whiteaker added.

The difference between an unwanted wildfire and a prescribed fire is that the prescribed fire is a planned event and fire is used to treat certain fuels under the oversight of a Burn Boss and firefighting resources that are on scene to ensure that the resource management objectives are being met, as the fire burns at a manageable pace. Firefighters have the advantage because they are able to control the intensity and rate of spread of the fire. With an unwanted wildfire, firefighters respond to an unknown situation and have to make appropriate on-the-spot decisions as the wildfire progresses, all the while, ensuring that firefighter and public safety are priority.

If you plan to visit the Lincoln National Forest, please follow these safety tips:

  • Make sure campfires are dead out!
  • Park vehicles in areas that are paved or bare – NOT in tall, dry grass.
  • If you smoke, do so in areas that clear of vegetation.
  • It’s ALWAYS illegal to possess or use fireworks on public lands.

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Wildfire and prescribed fire information will be posted and updated on this website.

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