Courtesy ESRI Disaster Response Program

A map shows fires still burning across the Western United States as of July 13.

The saying goes, "Where there's smoke, there's fire," but in the case of the recent haze rolling through Taos County, the flames aren't nearby.

Collaboration Staff Officer Leann Murphy said this week that there are no active fires currently in the Carson National Forest, and even with fires still burning in the northwestern and southwestern parts of the state, the smoke in Northern New Mexico is from fires elsewhere in the West.

"The smoke is coming from a lot of the wildfires in Western states," she said, and listed Washington, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, California and Arizona as the states with the most prominent wildfires still burning as of July 13.

A report also published on July 13 by the National Interagency Fire Center states that nearly 918,000 acres have burned in a total of 67 "large fires" across the United States this year.

While New Mexico is among other Western states this year experiencing severe drought, it is among those that have so far avoided the sort of catastrophic wildfire land management agencies fear most.

"I know that our fire personnel went into this season with pretty high concerns about the possibility of fire because so much of the state was in either extreme, severe or some other form of drought," said Julie Anne Overton, public affairs officer for Santa Fe National Forest.

Overton said an early onset of monsoon season this year brought moisture that lessened the concerns of a serious fire in the Taos County area. Still, she said people should remain vigilant.

"Something as simple as dragging a chain can cause a fire," she said.

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