US Forest Service stops designated burns, announces review after New Mexico forest fire

Referring to the extreme conditions of forest fires, the US Forest Service is suspending the set burns while it is reviewing its practices, the head of the agency announced on Friday.

The move comes a month after a designated burn used to reduce the risk of wildfires spread beyond its borders in New Mexico to become the largest wildfire currently burning in the United States.

The Forest Service will conduct a 90-day review of protocols, decision support tools and practices ahead of action planned for this fall, according to a statement from Forest Service Chief Randy Moore.

“Our primary goal in extinguishing planned wildfires is to ensure the safety of the communities involved,” Moore said.

“The communities we serve և our staff deserve the best tools և the science that supports them as we continue to navigate to reduce the risk of severe forest fires in the future,” he said.

The ceasefire was announced as much of the south-west was at risk of “red flag” or forest fires, warnings from hot, dry conditions.

The Hermits Peak Fire started on April 6, after “sudden irregular winds” caused numerous spotted fires outside the defined combustion limits, the Forest Service said.

The Calf Canyon Fire started near the fire on April 19, the reasons for which are mentioned in the investigation stage. The two fires later merged, burning more than 303,000 acres.

The fire was contained by 40 percent on Friday. More than 2,000 firefighters were battling the forest fire. At least 277 buildings, including 166 homes, were destroyed in the blaze, the San Miguel County Sheriff’s Office said.

Moore had previously announced a review, specifically for the Hermits Peak Fire.

He said that due to climate change, droughts, forest fires are becoming more and more extreme, he called the designated burns necessary tools to reduce the risk of forest fires. “In 99.84% of the cases, the fires are going as planned,” Moore said in a statement on Friday.

New Mexico Gov. Michel Lujan Grisham has said he supports the pause, but said well-managed burnouts are a powerful tool.

“Federal agencies may need to update this practice in response to the changing climate, as what used to be considered extreme conditions are now much more common. The situation in New Mexico undoubtedly shows the grave consequences of neglect. “Do it,” he said announcement:.


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