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Area 74 Prescribed Burn Update for May 9, 2018

Truth or Consequences, NM, May 9, 2018—For Immediate Release.  The Black Range Ranger District continued the Area 74 Prescribed Burn today.

Fire crews continued to use hand ignitions to place fire on the ground working down NM Hwy 59 towards Burnt Cabin Flat, through Burnt Cabin Flat and around and down Forest Road 226. An estimated 3,200 acres were burned yesterday and 3,400 acres today, making a three day total of ~7,800 acres. Ignition operations have ceased and the fire will now move to a monitor status.

There was heavy smoke in the vicinity of Poverty Creek and lighter smoke in Winston, NM early in the mornings for the last two days. With an air temperature of approximately 39-45 degrees in Poverty Creek, the smoke had settled in the valley. There may be smoke drifting directly onto NM Hwy 59, and the forest reminds drivers to exercise extreme caution while driving in smoke and to be aware of firefighters walking on the roadside, heavy smoke, and fire vehicles moving slowly along the road.

By applying the right fire to the right place at the right time, this controlled burn will help protect the surrounding communities and private inholdings, mitigate the risk of future high-intensity wildfire, reduce the spread of insects and disease, improve habitat for wildlife, including threatened and endangered species, and promote the growth of healthy trees, wildflowers and other plants.

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 burn has been drifting in the direction of Elephant Butte, Kingston and Truth or Consequences. Smoke monitors have been placed at Poverty Creek and Winston. 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:  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.