Gila National Forest – Area 74 Prescribed Burn

The Area 74 Prescribed Burn on the Black Range Ranger District is proceeding well. Test ignitions took place at approximately 1100 today and operations are continuing successfully. Approximately 100 acres have burned at this point in time.

Today’s plan includes  ignitions on approximately 1,000 acres protecting values in the area such as power lines, phone lines, and archaeological sites, and private lands. The Black Range Ranger District has a long history of burning in the spring, and this will be a second entry for Units 9 and 10.

By applying the right fire to the right place at the right time, this controlled burn will help protect the surrounding communities and private inholdings, mitigate the risk of high-intensity wildfire, reduce the spread of insects and disease, improve habitat for wildlife, including threatened and endangered species, and promote the growth of healthy trees, wildflowers and other plants.

Weather conditions for today include maximum temperature of 79 degrees, winds south, southeast about 5-10 miles per hour. There is smoke drifting directly onto NM Hwy 59, and the forest reminds drivers to be aware of firefighters walking on the roadside, heavy smoke, and fire vehicles moving slowly along the road.

Duration of smoke production is hard to predict, but high density smoke should dissipate out within two to three days after active ignitions cease. Smoke will settle in drainages and valley bottoms during the evening and early morning hours. Smoke monitors have been placed at Poverty Creek and Winston. Smoke from the prescribed burn will be monitored to ensure that the New Mexico Environment Department’s Air Quality Bureau regulations are being met.  Smoke-sensitive individuals and those with respiratory or heart disease should take precautionary measures.  Air quality information and health protection measures are posted online at the New Mexico Department of Health’s website:  https://nmtracking.org/fire.

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