Put out your campfires. Just do it

By Cody Hooks
chooks@taosnews.com
Posted 7/3/19

Fire managers just a little south of Taos are upset.The Santa Fe National Forest put out a press release last week (June 26) that aired their biggest frustration: …

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Put out your campfires. Just do it

Posted

Fire managers just a little south of Taos are upset.

The Santa Fe National Forest put out a press release last week (June 26) that aired their biggest frustration: abandoned campfires.

Humans, and especially campfires that aren't all the way out, are the leading cause of wildfires in the United States. Those fires are getting bigger and more costly each year.

While folks with the Carson National Forest are doing far better than users of the woods in Santa Fe -- only one unattended campfire in 2019, compared to 45 in the Santa Fe National Forest the weekend of June 22-23 alone -- caution is still paramount.

"The New Mexico fire season may be later than usual this year, but it's here now. Please don't be the one who makes it worse by abandoning a still-burning campfire," read their press release.

How have human-caused wildfires and abandoned campfires impacted the region?

• More than 2.8 million acres are burned each year due to people starting wildfires, according to the National Interagency Fire Center;

• $3.1 billion was spent in the U.S. in 2018 to put out wildfires;

• 2015 was a high point for the amount of federal land burned by wildfires, with 10,125,149 acres burned. Last year was a close second, with 10,026,086 acres burned, according to the NIFC;

• An abandoned campfire in the Jemez Ranger District recently grew into a two-acre wildfire before three engine crews successfully put it out;

• The Spring Creek Fire that last summer burned over Southern Colorado, including Le Veta Pass (which took Taos' fiber optic connection offline), grew to more than 108,000 acres. It was human caused.

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