Fire Danger Elevated on Lincoln National Forest’s Guadalupe Ranger District

CARLSBAD, NM – December 13, 2012 – A combination of lack of moisture and unseasonably warm weather in southeastern New Mexico has prompted Lincoln National Forest fire officials to elevate the Guadalupe Ranger District’s fire danger rating to HIGH.

The rating helps describe the general conditions over an extended area. The HIGH rating indicates that all fine fuels, such a grass, can ignite easily and fires can start quickly from most causes; unattended campfires are likely to escape; fires can 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.

High winds are predicted for this weekend which has prompted the need for heightened awareness about the local conditions and increased potential for wildfires.  

Previous years, including 2010 and 2011, experienced similar conditions, which led to the start of early fire seasons. In 2011, large fires were being reported in February and the fire season continued through August. “This year is setting up to become another extended fire season, mostly because of the lack of moisture, and there’s little indication that we’ll see significant moisture between now and spring. We are aware of the fact that we may be responding to wildfires during winter and early spring months” said Art Arias, Fire Management Officer for the Guadalupe Ranger District. Officials are asking everyone to help minimize the wildfire risks by following some simple tips:

  • Make sure campfires are dead out!
  • Spark arrestors are required on chainsaws and off-road vehicles.
  • Don’t park vehicles on dry grass.
  • If you smoke, do so in areas that clear of vegetation and don’t toss cigarettes out.
  • Don’t burn on windy days!
  • Remember, it’s illegal to possess or use fireworks on public lands.
  • Be aware of your surroundings – remember that fires can start easily and spread quickly.

 

For more information about the Lincoln National Forest, please call 575-434-7200, Monday through Friday, 7:30 am to 4:30 pm. You can also find us at www.fs.usda.gov/lincoln and follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LincolnUSForest