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National forest at ‘very high fire danger’ rating


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ALAMOGORDO — The Lincoln National Forest has moved from a moderate to very high fire danger rating in one week’s time, according to a press release issued Monday by the U.S. Forest Service.

The Lincoln National Forest joins the other National Forests in New Mexico and Arizona that are all currently at a high, very high or extreme fire danger rating.

Despite it being late October, multiple 1,000-plus acre fires have cropped up in the past week in the southwest including the Luna Fire in northern New Mexico and the Horse Fire south of Prescott, Arizona.

“We are seeing similar trends to what we saw in 2011 when we had several fires over the winter,” said Fire Staff Officer David Bales. “To be moving into a very high fire danger rating so late in the year is atypical but based on the low fuel moisture levels and activity in the region, it’s warranted.”

There are no fire restrictions on the Lincoln National Forest in place at this time, according to the press release; however, the public is urged to use extreme caution with fire and not to burn on reg flag days.

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“When the fire danger is very high fires will start easily from most causes and will spread rapidly right after ignition,” Bales stated. “Now more than ever, it is important to properly build your campfires by using a metal or rock ring around your campfire and keep the fire as small as possible. As always, visitors to the national forest should completely extinguish their campfires before leaving.”

The Lincoln National Forest, Southwest Area and nation are all at preparedness level 3. Preparedness levels run on a scale from 1 to 5, 5 being the highest, and are dictated by fuel and weather conditions, fire activity and resource availability.