Silver City, NM; November 5, 2012-With the recent wildland fires these past two  years on the Gila National Forest and throughout the West, local community citizens and visitors are understandably concerned when they see smoke. The recent Farm Flats Prescribed Fire conducted by the Silver City Ranger District raised some questions on origins of the smoke.

“We acknowledge concerns from the community and apologize for any inconveniences; we also recognize that individuals with respiratory conditions may be especially susceptible to the smoke. Prescribed fires are planned for minimum smoke impacts on communities but forecasted smoke dispersal patterns sometimes change in a manner not predicted,” says Forest Supervisor Kelly Russell.


News releases on the prescribed fire were published in local newspapers, and flyers were posted at local post offices and stores, but it seems not everyone received notice of the project so the community’s feedback in identifying other methods to keep everyone better informed of upcoming prescribed fires in the area is welcome. Also, if interested in signing up for email notification of future prescribed fires in the area; send an e-mail message to Public Affairs Officer (PAO) Andrea Martinez at: agmartinez@fs.fed.us

“Please feel free to contact Silver City District Ranger Russ Ward, Fire Staff Officer Gabe Holguin, PAO Martinez, or myself at 575.388.8201,” adds Russell.

The prescribed fire located 12 miles north of Silver City and west of NM 15 in the Sheep Corral area was completed on October 31st. Smoke was highly visible in Grant County communities from the start date of October 29 with residual smoke continuing for a few days after its completion.

Prescribed fires are conducted by fire managers during fall months to take advantage of lower temperatures, and reduce fuels to minimize severity of future fire seasons. To assist in monitoring smoke during prescribed burning, portable smoke monitors are installed in Forest locations.

Below are useful web sites on smoke management and health information on smoke:
New Mexico Department of Health: https://nmtracking.unm.edu/media/cms_page_media/8/NewsRelease_SmokeHotline_6-11-12.pdf
New Mexico Fire Information on Smoke Management: http://nmfireinfo.com/smoke-management/
New Mexico Smoke Monitoring: http://www.satguard.com/USFS/Chart_new.asp?Get=4&;UnitID=1035&CustID=2&sDate=11-2-2012

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