Carson puts El Rito wildfire to work in forest thinning

Planned operations to start Thursday; expect smoke

By Cody Hooks
chooks@taosnews.com
Posted 6/21/19
After a strike of lightning started the modest Gurule fire earlier this month, the Carson National Forest planned to use the opportunity to go ahead and clean out a …

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Carson puts El Rito wildfire to work in forest thinning

Planned operations to start Thursday; expect smoke

Posted

After a strike of lightning started the modest Gurule fire earlier this month, the Carson National Forest planned to use the opportunity to go ahead and clean out a section of the forest around El Rito, much as it would with a prescribed burn.

By Saturday (June 15), more than 130 people and several engines were staged to manage the blaze under a "modified suppression strategy," according to the Forest Service, meaning they would keep the fire from spreading, but coax it to areas that would be strategically beneficial for long-term forest restoration efforts.

Dozers reopened old roads to be used as containment lines, and firefighter crews cleared brush and felled trees along these lines in preparation for firing operations.

But conditions changed last weekend. The hot-and-dry stretch gave way to rains on Saturday (June 15), which dampened the area about 10 miles northwest of El Rito "to the extent that planned firing operations have been temporarily suspended," read an update.

Only 51 personnel remained on site as of Monday (June 17), and only 30 by press time on Wednesday (June 19).

"Based on current and forecasted weather, which include drier and warmer temperatures Thursday [June 20] through Sunday [June 23], fire managers plan to implement firing operations starting tomorrow, weather permitting," read the Wednesday update from the Forest Service.

"As fire increases in size and firing operations commence, smoke may be visible from the communities of Abiquiú, Canjilon, Cañon Plaza, Vallecitos, La Madera, El Rito, and Tres Piedras, which may continue to show for several days," it read.

For more information, call (575) 224-6338 between 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.; or visit nmfireinfo.com, facebook.com/CarsonNF and twitter.com/CarsonNF. You can also email 2019.Gurule@firenet.gov.

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