Cameron Creek project includes portion of Fort Bayard area trail system

SILVER CITY, NM, May 17, 2024 – The Gila National Forest, Silver City Ranger District is assessing conditions in preparation for burning Phase 2 of the 2,010-acre Cameron Creek Prescribed Fire project. Given suitable conditions, crews hope to ignite portions of the planned prescribed fire unit as early as the week of June 3. An area closure will be in effect during the prescribed fire. The exact date of ignition will depend on weather and fuels conditions and firefighting resource availability. 

“Fire will be used to consume live and dead vegetation within the project area, opening gaps in the canopy,” said Silver City District Ranger Elizabeth Toney. “The pinon pine, juniper, and oak fuel type requires relatively dry fuel conditions and light winds to carry fire into and through the fuels in order to achieve project objectives.”

This is phase two of the project, in which fire will be introduced to the interior of the project area. The purpose of the project is to enhance wildlife habitat diversity using fire to create a mosaic burn pattern. Fire is not expected to touch every acre of the project area. As a secondary benefit, use of prescribed fire in this area will reduce hazardous fuels and fire intensities if a wildfire were to occur, protecting private infrastructure in the wildland urban interface. In this fire-adapted ecosystem, repeat entries with fire are necessary in order to maintain habitat attributes over time.

The Cameron Creek project is located along the west side of Grant County Road 1-152/Forest Road 536. For public safety, trail guards will direct visitors away from the prescribed fire project. They will be in place at Big Tree Trailhead and Service Corral Trailhead, as well as at road and trail junctions along Trails #727 Fence Line, #758 Cornell Ranch, #755 Big Tree, #55 Woodhaul Wagon Road, #756 Stevens Ranch, Forest Road 110, and Grant County Road 1-152 (please see the attached map). 

Smoke may persist for several days following completion of ignitions. It will be visible from U.S. Highway 180, New Mexico Highway 152, and the communities of Arenas Valley, City of Bayard, and Santa Clara. 

Smoke will be monitored to ensure that the New Mexico Environment Department’s Air Quality Bureau’s regulations are met. When smoke impacts are present, New Mexico Department of Health recommends reducing physical activity and staying indoors with windows and doors closed. For those who are unable to avoid smoke exposure, use of a particulate respirator mask can help. Additional air quality information and health protection measures are posted online at NM-Tracking - Fires, Smoke and Health. Real-time mapping of smoke and other air quality impacts is available at . For more information contact Maribeth Pecotte at 575-388-8211 or .

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