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Let's Talk forest management

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Photo by Tom Cherry
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@pannationalguard via Flickr
Prescribed burns are a commonly used land management technique that reduces the amount of combustible material (leaf litter and dead grass naturally occurring in the natural landscape) and performed only when conditions such as humidity, wind, and temperature are ideal for managing fires and not conducted unless all required weather conditions are met.

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.

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