Gila National Forest moves to VERY HIGH Fire Danger

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Silver City, NM, May 30, 2018—For Immediate Release.  Continued high temperatures and spring winds are increasing fire danger on the Gila National Forest.  In addition, fire crews and forest visitors have been reporting an increase in abandoned campfires in and around the Gila National Forest.

A fire danger rating of VERY HIGH means that fires start easily from all causes and small fuels (such as grasses and needles) will ignite rapidly and immediately after ignition spread rapidly and increase quickly in intensity. Small fires can quickly become large fires and exhibit extreme fire intensity such as long distance spotting. These fires can be difficult to control and will often become much larger and longer-lasting fires.

Fire managers consider several factors when elevating the fire danger level.   Data from Remote Weather Stations (RAWS) located across the forest are aggregated together, producing the Energy Release Component (ERC). As live fuels cure and dead fuels dry, the ERC will increase and can be described as a build-up index.  Each daily calculation considers the past 7 days in calculating the new number. Fire managers and planners have found that the ERC can be used as a decision tool to prepare for an approaching fire season.  This data is evaluated in addition to the number of human-caused fires, red flag and critical fire days.

Please be vigilant of the high winds and rising temperatures and avoid using anything with an open flame or a spark.  If mowing grass down, use a string-style trimmer rather than a lawn mower as the blades can strike rock and produce a spark.  Make sure that your chain saw has a spark arrestor, that your trailer chains are not dragging and that all cigarettes are extinguished in an ashtray. #OneLessSpark #OneLess Fire

Please report fires and abandoned campfires to the Silver City Interagency Dispatch at 1-800-538-1644.  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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