Carson National Forest

Carson National Forest 

Taos News file photo

Carson National Forest to manage Poso Fire for resource benefit

The Poso Fire was detected May 29 on the El Rito Ranger District of the Carson National Forest, the result of a lightning strike approximately 10 miles north of El Rito, New Mexico. Currently, the fire is a low intensity surface fire, burning primarily in the dead-and-down fuels. Carson National Forest fire managers are taking advantage of ideal conditions to manage the fire for resource benefit and resiliency in a high-priority watershed. The Poso Fire poses no immediate danger to any property or infrastructure.

Gradual fire growth can be expected as the fire creeps naturally, but residents and travelers can expect the volume of smoke to increase over the next few weeks as firefighters enter the area and increase burning activity in order to mimic natural fire conditions. Predetermined management areas have been and will continue to be identified as the fire continues to burn, so that it can be kept within established boundaries.

Due to the location and elevation of the fires, smoke may be visible from surrounding communities including Vallecitos, Cañon Plaza, Petaca, Las Tablas, Servilleta Plaza, El Rito, Ojo Caliente, Tres Piedras and La Madera, New Mexico. Smoke-sensitive individuals and people with heart or respiratory problems are encouraged to take precautionary measures. For information on air quality and protecting your health, please visit nmtracking.org/fire. For information on the HEPA filter loan program, go to facnm.org/smoke/ or contact the El Rito Ranger District 575-581-4554.

Poso Fire info

Size: 7 acres

Growth Potential: Low to moderate

Vegetation: Ponderosa pine and mixed conifer

Resources: 1 Type-4 Incident Command Team, 1 road grader, 2 Type-6 engines, local fire personnel.

In Route: 1 Type-2 bulldozer, 1 Type-1 masticator, and 1 wildland fire module.

SFNF issues temporary closure order for Willow Creek

The Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) will implement a temporary closure order for the Willow Creek drainage on the Pecos/Las Vegas Ranger District from June 14-18 and July 19-23, as part of the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish's conservation strategy to restore the native Río Grande cutthroat trout to the Pecos River basin.

The biggest threat to the Río Grande cutthroat is the introduction of nonnative fish species, like brown trout, which compete with the native fish for food. NM Game and Fish will use a piscicide in Willow Creek to remove the nonnative fish as the first phase of a project to restore Río Grande cutthroat trout to Willow Creek, adding 9 miles of stream to their current distribution.

The Río Grande cutthroat trout currently occupies only 11 percent of its historic distribution in New Mexico and Colorado. NM Game and Fish has identified the upper Pecos River basin as a priority for Río Grande cutthroat restoration. The Pecos River basin currently has 12 Río Grande cutthroat conservation populations, mostly in small headwater streams. NM Game and Fish's statewide fisheries management plan outlines a strategy to increase the number of secure Río Grande cutthroat populations and occupied stream miles to improve the conservation status of the species and provide additional opportunities for recreational angling.

This closure order restricts an area within a 100-meter boundary surrounding Willow Creek, starting by the Links Tract Campground and extending approximately 5 miles to the northeast and 1 mile southeast of Links Tract from June 14-18 and July 19-23, 2021.

--Staff reports

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