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Area 74 Prescribed Burn and Where Smoke will Travel

Truth or Consequences, NM, April 10, 2018—For Immediate Release.  The Black Range Ranger District is planning to begin the Area 74 Prescribed Burn during the week of April 30, weather conditions permitting. Fire managers consider forecasted weather, fuel moistures and other conditions to determine optimal windows to conduct prescribed burns.

This week is planned so that the smoke from the burn will not impact the visitors who are on the Gila National Forest for the Tour of the Gila. The Tour of the Gila will be in Silver City April 18-22. This is an iconic American bicycle race that began in 1987 and brings visitors to the area. Smoke from a prescribed burn would negatively impact the visitors and race participants and so decisions were made to postpone the burn until after the race completion.

During the evening hours smoke from the Area 74 burn will impact in the following manner: west of the Continental Divide Trail (CDT) smoke will drift into Taylor Creek, to the East Fork of the Gila River, into the confluence of the Gila River and down into the Mimbres Valley. On the east side of the CDT smoke will drift into the communities of Poverty Creek, Winston and Chloride. Extreme care should be taken during late evening and early morning hours while driving or recreating in these areas.

Smoke from the prescribed burn will be monitored to assess potential health impacts and the Forest Service will coordinate with New Mexico Environment Department and Department of Health to issue any needed alerts. Smoke from fire rises up and away during the daytime, but in the evening smoke can pool back down in canyons, drainages, and basins. Smoke can hurt your eyes, irritate your respiratory system, and intensify chronic heart and lung problems. Your eyes are your best tools to determine if it’s safe to be outside. If visibility is over 5 miles, the air quality is generally good. If you are having health effects from smoke exposure then take extra care to stay inside or get to an area with better air quality. You should also see your doctor or healthcare professional as needed. For information on air quality and protecting your health, and to find guidance on distances and visibility, please visit https://nmtracking.org/fire. Fire information can be found at nmfireinfo.com.

Smoke-sensitive individuals and those with respiratory or heart diseases 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 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.