Gila National Forest warns of continued fire danger, campfire safety

New Mexico News

NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – The Gila National Forest reports that warm temperatures and dry fall conditions continue to increase fire danger on the Gila National Forest. On Oct. 8 the Gila National Forest upgraded the fire danger to high and it’s trending to very high. Forest officials advise hunters, campers, woodcutters, and all forest visitors to be aware of the conditions and avoid using anything with an open flame or a spark.

According to a news release, a fire danger rating of high is defined as “all fine dead fuels ignite readily, and fires start easily from most causes.”  The Forest Service also says fire managers consider several factors when elevating the fire danger level. Data from Remote Weather Stations located across the forest are aggregated together, producing the Energy Release Component. The ERC is a trend line that Fire Managers use to determine “where they are at” in the fire season. “Normally” in mid-October, the ERC (on a scale of 0-100) on the Gila is below 40. Currently, the Gila is at 80 and climbing.

Forest officials say to completely extinguish your campfires, and when woodcutting, that your chain saw has a spark arrestor, that your trailer chains are not dragging and that all cigarettes are extinguished. To report fires and abandoned campfires call the Silver City Interagency Dispatch at 1-800-538-1644.

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