The Sacramento District Review – March 2013

In this Month’s Issue:
Engine Crews: Prepared & Proactive
Evening Lecture Series
Kids Corner
The Ranger’s Report
The Sacramento District Review is a monthly newsletter prepared by the Sacramento Ranger District of the Lincoln National Forest.


Engine Crews: Prepared & Proactive

-Chris Alirez

Sacramento Ranger District Engine Crew 622 on initial attack at the Barclay Fire, East of Pin?on (2012)

The Sacramento Ranger District firefighting engine crews are always ready to respond to a fire and stay prepared by adhering to a specific daily routine.

Physical training is critical to ensuring that the firefighters are prepared to meet the physical demands of their job. A typical day begins with a vigorous morning run that varies in length from 3 to 6 miles and a strength training workout, consisting of upper body and core strengthening.

This work out includes push-ups, pull-ups, crunches, lunges, and stretching, just to name a few. These exercises are done in various numbers and rotations. A typical set consists of 25 push-ups, 10 pull-ups and 25 crunches with each rotation focusing on a different muscle group.

After the morning workouts, fire personnel take part in a morning briefing which includes a morning weather forecast and outlook for the week. The firefighters also participate in a safety discussion that covers field safety and important safety awareness highlights within the profession. The national situation report is shared and covers general fire information and ongoing fires throughout the nation along with their containment status and amount and type of resources.

A local update is also covered that focuses on resources within the Alamogordo zone, followed by daily project work plans. Project work is done in the field or shop while crews are not on fires and involves work such as cutting hazard trees or repairing fence as well as assisting other resource areas such as wildlife, recreation and range with project needs.

The engine crews are prepared to respond to a fire call within minutes. Fire and/or smoke reports are usually relayed by one of the districts, lookout towers or by vigilant residents who may see smoke in their area.

Firefighters must remain in a constant state of readiness during the fire season and have fire packs ready to go with items such as water, food and basic necessities to sustain oneself for a minimum of twenty-four hours. After the initial twenty-four hour period, firefighters are supported with additional sustenance and may also require the assistance of additional firefighters, depending on the fire behavior and size.

Sacramento Ranger District engine crew member assists with hazard tree removal

The Sacramento Ranger District is the primary response area for the engine crews, however, some local engines travel to assist other forests nationally and have responded to fires such as the High Park fire on the Arapaho-Roosevelt National Forest in Colorado and the White-Water Baldy fire on the Gila National Forest in New Mexico.

The High Park Fire covered an area over 87,250 acres of land and is the second largest fire in Colorado’s history. The White-Water Baldy fire was the largest fire in New Mexico history, covering 297,845 acres of land in the Southwestern portion of the state in 2012. When extra personnel was requested in fighting these fires, the Lincoln National Forest responded by sending local engines from all three ranger districts.

If you are interested in more information on the Sacramento Ranger District engine crews or for employment opportunities, please visit or stop by your local district office.

Wearing of the Green

It ought to come in April,
or, better yet, in May
when everything is green as green –
I mean St. Patrick’s Day.
With still a week of winter
this wearing of the green
seems rather out of season –
it’s rushing things, I mean.
But maybe March is better
when all is done and said:
St. Patrick brings a promise,
a four-leaf-clover promise,
a green-all-over promise
of springtime just ahead!

By Aileen Fisher


Evening Lecture Series

Please join us on Saturday, March 16th at the Cloudcroft High School Gym for our first lecture of 2013 hosted by the Sacramento Ranger District Fire Managers.

The evening will begin at 4:00 p.m. with a presentation on the wildland fire partnerships between Federal, State and Local agencies in Otero County.

The public is invited! Agency representatives will be available to answer questions regarding wildland fire collaborative management efforts between agencies.

The April lecture “Sharing the Forest with Wildlife” presented by Jason Kline with NM Game & Fish is scheduled for April 11th from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. at the Sacramento Ranger Station, #4 Lost Lodge Rd. in Cloudcroft. Learn how to co-exist with our local wildlife. The lecture will focus primarily on bears and mountain lions, as well as the fawn/elk calf survival process.


Kids Corner

By J. Fink

3D Shamrock Table Decoration

-green cardstock or construction paper
-tape (optional)

1. Cut 2 identical shamrock shaped pieces from the paper.
2. On one shamrock, cut from the bottom up to the center of the shamrock. On the other shamrock, cut
top down to the center of the shamrock.
3. Slide the two shamrocks together. Tape can be used to reinforce the shamrock.

Get Your Green On 

St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated internationally on March 17th each year. The holiday is named after Saint Patrick who is the most commonly recognized of the patron saints of Ireland.

Originally, the color associated with Saint Patrick was blue, but over the years the color green became better associated with St. Patty’s Day and Ireland, the “Emerald Isle.” Green ribbons and shamrocks were worn in celebration of the day as early as the 17th century.

The phrase “the wearing of the green,” which means to wear a shamrock on your clothes, comes from a song of the same name. Don’t forget to pinch (lightly of course) someone if they aren’t wearing green!


The Ranger’s Report

-James Duran

James Duran, District Ranger

I’m hopeful that the day you choose to read this article is a day with moisture in the air and an enjoyable light breeze. As we leave a winter season that produced very little snowpack and with the drought conditions continuing to compound on the mountain, many people have raised concerns over the drought and the Forest Service’s response to drought. I would like to give a little insight as to how the agency approaches this concept.
I will start with sharing the fact that in recent years, the weather patterns we’ve experienced have been unusual and for many of our staff on the district who have lived in this area most of their life, it has been very different in the woods. We have been in extreme drought but at critical points in the growing season or early fall when moisture really counts; Mother Nature has supplied us with just a little relief to give the land an opportunity to respond, temporarily.
Drought impacts all of our programs. One question that has been frequent as of late is; do you think the forest will close this summer? The only response I have this early is; if it continues to remain dry with typical spring winds, it doesn’t look good and there is a very high probability that we will be in restrictions and a possible closure. Again, all these decisions are dependent on conditions.

Forest restrictions and closure are definitely a last resort. This is something that is only considered when conditions really warrant such action. Any form of restrictions come with direct impacts to local communities and to the public who cherish the Lincoln National Forest. There are also impacts to livestock owners who hold permits to graze on the national forest. For many managers, this means making difficult decisions to reduce stocking rates or rotate livestock to pastures off the forest. Often times, contractors and partners completing valuable work on the national forest are forced to stop work in order to mitigate risks. Drought doesn’t discriminate.

Overall, we do not know exactly what card Mother Nature will deal to the Sacramento’s. However, we will do the best we can with the information that we have available. This effort will be much of our focus throughout March. I look forward to sharing more this month.

Write a letter to the Ranger

If you’ve ever wondered about timber harvests, endangered species, off-road vehicle use, or other natural resource management topics, this is your opportunity to get your answer.

Individuals aspiring to acquire knowledge about the US Forest Service are encouraged to escape the fast-paced world of technology and write a good old-fashioned letter to the Ranger.

If you would like to write a letter to James Duran, Sacramento District Ranger, please mail it to: P.O. Box 288, Cloudcroft, NM 88317.

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