“Moderate” describes Lincoln National Forest’s Current Fire Danger Rating

ALAMOGORDO, RUIDOSO, CLOUDCROFT, CARLSBAD, NM, March 2, 2017 – For Immediate Release.  A combination of low moisture, long term effects of persistent drought, winds and increasingly warm weather in southern New Mexico has prompted Lincoln National Forest fire officials to rate the current fire danger as MODERATE. All fire danger rating signs on the Lincoln National Forest will be displaying MODERATE beginning Monday, March 6th.  This rating reflects conditions on all three districts, including Smokey Bear, Sacramento and Guadalupe. The fire danger is expected to increase as spring conditions intensify and hot summer weather approaches.

A fire danger rating of MODERATE means that fires can start from accidental causes, but the number of starts is generally low. Fires in open, cured grasslands will burn briskly and spread rapidly on windy days. Timber fires spread slowly to moderately fast. The average fire is of moderate intensity, although heavy accumulations of fuels will burn hot. Short-distance spotting may occur, but is not persistent. Fire starts under these conditions are typically controlled quickly.

“We’ve been monitoring conditions closely and we transitioned from LOW to MODERATE fire danger rating over a very short period of time.  The Seven Cabins fire, currently burning on the Smokey Bear Ranger District is a good example of the potential for a wildfire to grow under the current conditions, described as MODERATE.  As the season progress we can expect the fire danger rating to increase to HIGH and possibly VERY HIGH, which are common descriptors for the peak fire season.  These descriptive adjectives help raise the level of awareness pertaining to fire danger,” said Ryan Whiteaker, Fire Staff Officer for the Lincoln National Forest.  “Fire season is here and we all need to be vigilant!” Whiteaker added. 

While there are no fire restrictions in place at this time, we’d like to offer a few safety tips for you to follow while visiting the Lincoln National Forest:  

  • Make sure campfires are dead out!
  • Park vehicles in areas that are paved or bare – NOT in tall, dry grass.
  • If you smoke, do so in areas that clear of vegetation.
  • Remember, fireworks are ALWAYS illegal on public lands!


Additional information about the Lincoln National Forest can be obtained by visiting or calling any of the offices listed below:

Smokey Bear Ranger District, 8 am – 4 pm, Mon – Fri

            901 Mechem Drive

            Ruidoso, NM  88345



            Sacramento Ranger District, 8 am – 4 pm, Mon – Fri

            4 Lost Lodge Road

            Cloudcroft, NM  88317



            Guadalupe Ranger District, 8 am – 4 pm, Mon – Fri

            5203 Buena Vista Drive

            Carlsbad, NM  88220



            Supervisor’s Office, 8 am – 4:30 pm, Mon – Fri

            3463 Las Palomas Road

            Alamogordo, NM  88310