Massive Southwest Wildfires Call for Pause of Prescribed Burns by Forest Service


On April 6, the US Forest Service set off a designated fire in the Santa Fe National Forest in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains between the city of Santa Fe and Las Vegas, New Mexico. Within hours, strong winds spread the fire outside the planned burn perimeter, and a wildfire was declared at 4:30 p.m. that same day.

Later that month, the so-called Hermit’s Peak Fire will continue to merge with the Calf Canyon Fire, making the entire complex the largest fire in state history, currently burning more than 300,000 acres. Tens of thousands of homes have been evacuated, hundreds of homes, ranches and other buildings have been destroyed, and livestock has been lost. Fortunately, no casualties were reported.

And many people in New Mexico didn’t have it, including Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham.

More from ForbesOne US state witnessed a year’s worth of wildfires in April alone.

“Incineration prescribed in April and the windy season… She said At a press conference in early May, fires increased and alerts and evacuations to the north of resort communities like Angel Fire and Sipapu were issued.

“We will have to figure it out. But this cannot happen again anywhere in the United States.”

In a matter of weeks, somewhat surprisingly, the federal government has followed suit, at least for now.

“Due to the extreme wildfire hazard situation at the site today, we are suspending prescribed fire operations on National Forest System lands and conducting a 90-day review of protocols, decision support tools and practices prior to planned operations. get off,” Forest Service Commissioner Randy Moore said: In a statement on May 20.

Moore’s statement did not specifically mention the fire in New Mexico, which continues to be one of the largest fires in the country, but it happened shortly after he and other officials met Lujan Grisham in Washington last Friday.

“After speaking with US Department of Agriculture leadership earlier today, I am delighted to hear that the Forest Service will be implementing a 90-day pause and review on burns designated on federal lands,” he said Friday.

Moore said the suspension would not affect most of the agency’s incineration projects, which typically occur between September and May. He notes that the Forest Service carries out about 4,500 regulated fire projects each year.

“In 99.84% of cases, scheduled fires go as planned.”

Unfortunately, losses from one of the other 0.16% fires could exceed $1 billion by the time the fires go out in northern New Mexico.

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