Gila NF: Hazardous Fuel Reduction Project planned for Poverty Creek Wildland Urban Interface

Truth or Consequences, NM. October 15, 2021.  The Gila National Forest, Black Range Ranger District is planning a hazardous fuels reduction project, estimated at 150 acres in the Poverty Creek Wildland Urban Interface (WUI).

The Black Range Ranger District is continuing work on reducing hazardous fuels, including prescribed burning, for the fall/winter of 2021-2022 on National Forest System lands in the Poverty Creek Subdivision. Once a window of opportunity combining weather conditions and fuel moistures occurs, this prescribed fire will be initiated and is expected to take approximately 3-5 days to complete.

Prescribed fires are one of the most effective tools available to resource managers for restoring fire on the land. These fires mimic natural fires by reducing forest fuels, recycling nutrients, and increasing habitat diversity.  Prescribed fires are designed to meet specific objectives, including providing community protection and promoting forest health.  Prescribed fires are managed with firefighter and public safety as the priority.

Fuel samples are evaluated early in the fire season and then more are taken as fuels dry out and the fire season progresses. The Gila National Forest conducts internal coordination by preparing roads and establishing handlines that will be used to control the prescribed fire. The Forest also coordinates with private landowners, grazing permit holders, New Mexico Department of Transportation, Sierra Electric, Natural Resources Forestry Division, and county governments.

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 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:

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