Gila National Forest – Elk Pasture Prescribed Burn planned on Wilderness Ranger District

Mimbres, NM, August 21, 2018—For Immediate Release.  The Gila National Forest, Wilderness Ranger District plans to conduct a broadcast burn between October 2018 and March 2019. The project is the Elks Pasture Unit, which is planned for 320 acres and is located south of NM Highway 35, west of Camp Thunderbird; west of the private land along Ponderosa Road, off Forest System Road 4085Q (Elk Pasture Road).  This forest health project is funded in part by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

Fire managers consider forecasted weather, fuel moistures and other conditions to determine optimal windows to conduct controlled burns. Prescribed fires are one of the most effective tools available to resource managers for restoring fire-adapted ecosystems.  These fires mimic natural fires by reducing forest fuels, recycling nutrients and increasing habitat diversity.  Prescribed burns are designed to meet specific objectives, including reducing hazardous fuel accumulation, removing slash from thinning and firewood gathering, providing community protection and promoting forest health.  Prescribed burns are always managed with firefighter and public safety as the first priority.

By adding the right fire to the landscape at the right place at the right time, controlled burns 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.

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.  For information on this prescribed fire, please go to https://nmfireinfo.com/.

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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