wildfires

Kari Greer / US Forest Service Gila National Forest

New Mexico’s 2014 wildfire season seems to have fizzled out, but the danger is not entirely behind us.

New Mexico State Forestry spokesman Dan Ware said favorable weather combined with a public awareness of fire prevention practices has reduced the number of fires this year.  “I don’t want to say that we are out of the woods yet,” he cautioned.

Drought Won't Stop Fireworks In Dry Western States

Jul 3, 2014
Billy Wilson Photography via Flickr

Arizona's largest city has gone months without any measurable rain, and neighboring New Mexico is in the midst of four years of severe drought.

But you'll still see and hear fireworks sparkle and pop this Fourth of July, despite the dangerously high threat of wildfires.

While some places in the West ban fireworks or greatly limit what you can light up, other states are going in the opposite direction.

Rita Daniels

UPDATE 7/2 11:30a: The Associated Press reports a wildfire burning in northern New Mexico's Jemez Mountains continues to expand but officials say expected favorable weather may help.

Officials said Wednesday morning says the lightning-sparked Diego Fire has burned more than five square miles, an increase of about 400 acres since Tuesday.

However, the fire remained zero percent contained.

Still, some residents say they felt isolated and uninformed about the fire's dangers. And ranchers who have livestock roaming in the fire area are worried about their cattle.

A New Mexico wildfire that destroyed 242 homes and businesses is now 95 percent contained as crews finish mopping up around the fire's perimeter.

Crews demobilized some equipment Friday as they restored containment lines around the 69-square-mile Little Bear fire to a more natural state. Firefighters were also able to take advantage of rain on the blaze's southern end.

The lightning-caused fire is burning near Ruidoso and started June 4.

Businesses in Ruidoso are open despite some road closures due to fire operations.

'War room' type effort places firefighting assets

Jun 29, 2012

From sites on the fringes of wildfires burning around the West, incident commanders spend nearly every waking hour huddled around maps, looking at computer screens or glued to the radio, trying to plot their next move.

Their decisions come after pouring over intelligence that's flooding in from crew leaders, weather forecasters and fuels analysts.

Elsewhere, teams of specialists smooth out the logistics of shuffling firefighters and equipment around the country.

Tom Harbour is the director of fire and aviation management for the U.S. Forest Service.