Let's Talk forest management
Let’s Talk New Mexico 5/19, 8 a.m.: New Mexico is in the middle of one of its most devastating fire seasons to date, with the largest wildfire in the state’s history scorching hundreds of thousands of acres of land.
This week on Let’s Talk New Mexico, we’ll discuss year-round forest management practices designed to stop fires like these from happening, a controversial planned burn that became the Hermits Peak Fire, and the evolving role of firefighting in the U.S.
We want to hear from you! Send questions or comments to LetsTalk@KUNM.org, tweet with #LetsTalkNM, or call-in live Thursday morning from 8-9 a.m. at 505-277-5866.
We reached out to the U.S. Forest Service for comment on the prescribed burn that became the Hermits Peak Fire. This is the statement they sent:
The USDA Forest Service is committed to conducting prescribed fire under safe conditions. Our primary goal in engaging in both prescribed fires and fighting wildland fire is ensuring the safety of the communities involved. Our employees are part of these communities across the nation.
In rare circumstances, conditions change, and prescribed burns move outside the planned project area and become wildfires. It is imperative that we learn from these experiences. This learning mindset applies directly to the escaped Las Dispensas prescribed burn in New Mexico, now named the Hermits Peak Fire.
The Forest Service is conducting a comprehensive internal Declared Wildfire Review of the Las Dispensas prescribed fire to understand changing conditions and work towards further mitigating risks in the future. The report will include a review of the conditions on the ground, the planning process and design, an assessment of the decisions leading up to the prescribed fire implementation, and a summary of contributing factors.
The Forest Service will identify and communicate the next steps when the report is finalized.
- Tom Ribe, Co-founder Firefighters United for Safety, Ethics, & Ecology (FUSEE)
- Laura Paskus, Environment Reporter for New Mexico PBS (Our Land host)
- Jonathon Golden, Former Firefighter of 12 years
- Matthew Hurteau, Forest Ecologist & Professor with the University of New Mexico
- Arturo Archuleta, Program Manager for the New Mexico Land Grant Council (NMLGC)
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