New Mexico Wildfire Traced to Forest Service Burn

The New Mexico Wildfire, which scorched more than 60 square miles of Sandoval County, last year, was started by a managed burn carried out by the US Forest Service, the government claimed on Monday.

According to the inquiry, a prescribed burn that escaped occurred where piles had been burned earlier in February, which is when the wildfire in April 2022 began.

In two distinct and nearby origin areas, investigators discovered an ash pit with burned woody material, according to a long report from the Forest Service. 

The research also discovered that the ash pits were created following the manual or equipment-assisted piling and burning of logging debris.

Investigators found that the controlled fire started a lingering fire, which Michiko Martin of the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service defined as a fire that smolders covertly.

Martin stated that in order to learn how to manage controlled fires more safely and lower the likelihood of them escaping, the Forest Service will conduct an internal declared wildfire study. 

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He stated that to find heat sources, firefighters in the Southwestern Region are increasingly using drones and handheld thermal sensors.

The Forest Service must rethink its approach to planned fires and forest management in our state as climate change and severe drought continue to affect the Southwest, it read.

Sen. Martin Heinrich (D) of New Mexico expressed these worries in a tweet, stating that the Forest Service has to give regaining the public’s trust a high priority.

The Calf Canyon Fire, which started a few weeks before the Cerro Pelado Fire and is regarded as the biggest fire in New Mexico history, was similarly caused, according to the Forest Service, by a prescribed burn.

The Forest Service said shortly after both incidents that it was stopping prescribed fire activities to examine protocols for the next 90 days.

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