Fire managers on the Smokey Bear Ranger District of the Lincoln National Forest hope to take advantage of favorable conditions, including fuel moisture levels, air quality, and forecasted weather to conduct pile burning as early as July 16 until the end of September.
The purpose of these projects is to reduce hazardous fuels following thinning and fuelwood removal activities. Reducing hazardous fuels will help reduce the threat of high severity, high-intensity wildfire to the public, adjacent private property and natural resources in the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) area that surrounds the communities of White Oaks and Ruidoso. Treatments will help fire managers re-introduce fire into a fire-adapted ecosystem, thus improving forest health, forest resiliency and wildlife habitat.
Prescribed fire projects include:
- White Oaks Pile Burn, 240 acres of machine piled slash located along Jicarilla road about 1 ½ miles east of the town of White Oaks.
- Grindstone Pile Burn, burn blocks less than 100 acres each consisting of hand piled slash located on the southwest corner of Ruidoso between Grindstone and Mescalero Lakes.
- Perk Pile Burn, burn blocks less than 100 acres each consisting of hand piled slash located between Perk Canyon and Cedar Creek along the west edge of Ruidoso.
- Gavilan Pile Burn, burn blocks less than 100 acres each consisting of hand piled slash located between Gavilan Canyon and Gavilan Ridge from Ruidoso High School area up to Eagle Creek road.
Communities that could be impacted by smoke: White Oaks, Alto, Ruidoso, Mescalero Reservation (Inn of the Mountain Gods area), Ruidoso Downs, and possibly Hondo in the evenings when smoke settles.
Smoke may be visible from the following areas: State Highways 532, 220, 48 & 37, US Highways 54, 380 & 70, most communities in Lincoln County, Mescalero, and possibly Alamogordo and Roswell.
Prescribed fires are one of the most effective tools available to resource managers for restoring fire-adapted ecosystems. These fires mimic natural fires by reducing forest fuels, recycling nutrients and increasing habitat diversity. Prescribed fires are managed with firefighter and public safety as the first priority.
Smoke-sensitive individuals and people with respiratory or heart disease are encouraged to take precautionary measures. Information on air quality and protecting your health can be found online at the New Mexico DOH website at https://nmtracking.org/fire.