Monday, July 6, 2015

Using More Fire in the Southwest

Commissary Fire. Source US Forest Service.

Across New Mexico and Arizona (US Forest Service Region 3), there are several lightning-caused fires being managed for "resource objectives."  What does that mean?  It means taking advantage of low intensity fire activity to improve forest health, wildlife habitat and watershed health, and reduce the potential for high intensity, catastrophic fires in the future.  Employing a variety of strategies on the ground, firefighters "steer" the growth of fires and allow them to "skunk along" chewing up accumulations of pine needles, reducing ladder fuels and opening up tree canopies.  

The Commissary (Santa Fe National Forest), Red Canyon (Cibola National Forest), Moore, and Middle (both on the Gila National Forest) fires are all active right now and using the fires as a natural fuels reduction method on the landscape level. The Cohesive Strategy encourages the use of fire where allowable to help restore resilient landscapes.  

Congratulations to Cal Joyner, Regional Forester in Region 3 and his forward-thinking staff for recognizing when conditions are right to let fire do its job! 

Fire updates are available daily at

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