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  1. #1
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    Upcoming (or already here?) Fire Season

    As I'm sure most folks have guessed, with the lack of moisture and dwindling snow, we are headed for a pretty serious fire season again. Just a call to everyone out on the trails on the Sandia RD (and other locals) to help us keep an eye out for unattended campfires. A little campfire and some wind could start something that could wipe out our trails for the forseeable future.

    So, if you are out and see something, please call (asap) the district (505-281-3304) during buisness hours (M-F 8am-4:30pm) or call Bernalillo County (505-798-7000 non emergency) or heck if you can't remember either of those numbers, call 911.

    Thanks!

    Kerry

  2. #2
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    This is only my second year in the Southwest, so please excuse my ignorance. How is it so much drier this year, when we got a lot more snow than last winter, and it's still muddy in the east Mtns? Last year the trails didn't close until July, and it seemed a lot drier.

  3. #3
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    This will sound somewhat counter intuitive but it partly has to do with our somewhat "normal" monsoon season. Because we had a decent season, that allowed our fine fuels (grasses, etc) to grow. Last year we were so dry, nothing grew. It was dirt. Now we have close to the same live fuel moistures as before (one decent monsoon and a semi decent start to winter which has fizzled hasn't made a dent), coupled with very dry dead fuels and really long grass (what carries a fire). That's not a winning combination for prevention of fire.

    Besides, yes it's still icy/muddy in the shade but check the areas that get more sun exposure and you can't even tell it snowed this winter. Straight dust.

    Let's hope I'm wrong!

  4. #4
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    Well, not great news, but thanks for explaining!

  5. #5
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    Lets hope for more snow! And a lot of it! It is only the end of February and March generally has significantly more snowfall at higher elevations.

  6. #6
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    Thanks for posting, hopefully all our concerns are for not with a few feet of snow in route soon paired with early monsoon season.

  7. #7
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    Burrito Jay at the Greenside echoed my prediction. Closures in April unless this turns around soon...

  8. #8
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    Is there a reason why the forest service doesn't do more controlled burns during the dry late fall/winter months?
    I also spend a lot of time in the jemez and ill say of what is still green its a tinder box up there. I would really like to see better forest management as far as controlled burns goes during the late fall winter months. That forest has had a major fire the last 4 years in a row and I just wonder if this can somewhat be managed by holding controlled burns all winter long.
    i only ride for fun.

  9. #9
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    So I was watching the news this morning... According to Kristen VanDyke, the last exceptionally dry winter was followed by an el Nino. In 2006 that flooded barralles. And we are tracking to have another el Nino this year.


    But I dont want to be the only ray of sunshine in the pessimists parade. So I still think the forrests will get shut down first for fires then for flooding.

    Also the channel 13 news team are mountain bikers, preety cool.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by ridefast84 View Post
    Is there a reason why the forest service doesn't do more controlled burns during the dry late fall/winter months?
    I also spend a lot of time in the jemez and ill say of what is still green its a tinder box up there. I would really like to see better forest management as far as controlled burns goes during the late fall winter months. That forest has had a major fire the last 4 years in a row and I just wonder if this can somewhat be managed by holding controlled burns all winter long.
    Controlled burn would be a good idea but I do not think it can be controlled. There is a significant amount of fuel (dead and downed trees) that really needs to be addressed. Only variable we could impact would be to remove downed trees for firewood as an option. Looking back to the Las Conches fire if the downed trees were removed around Dome road over a 5 year period the fire damage may have been reduced. I don't have any answers only one opinion.

  11. #11
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    Funny someone would mention presribed fire. In fact that was what I was up to yesterday. We burned about 10 acres along the wilderness boundary a little south of Cole Springs. Maybe this is a surprise to folks but performing prescribed fire operations takes a lot of planning, personnel and money. Many fire folks are seasonal so they work typically spring to fall but here in the southwest things are often too dry for burning except in winter or monsoon. So, us non-fire personnel (not our primary job) are used and in most cases there's not enough folks (yesterday we had a whopping 8 people). Aside from having to have the right conditions, precribed fire is very controversial if you remember, the Cerro Grande fire left a pretty big impression on everyone's mind. We're regularly bombarded with threats to sue, call congressmen, etc.

    The Sandia RD is moving at a pretty fast clip the last year to implement forest restoration work that includes precribed fire but there's a lot of moving parts. Cedro and other parts of the district will be very differrent in the coming years as this work is completed.

  12. #12
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    A little more detail about the El Nino possibility. For those who enjoy reading such things:

    Dr. Jeff Masters' WunderBlog : An El Niño Coming in 2014? | Weather Underground

    BOTTOM LINE: The Pacific Ocean is now in a state that could reconstruct the base state of the Pacific, favoring an El Niño to develop later this Spring. That being said, it’s not a locked in solution yet as we need to monitor the atmosphere for future westerly wind bursts to help push the Western Pacific Warm Pool along.
    It sure would be nice. I rode the same route in the bosque the last two weekends and I couldn't believe how much the soil had dried out in that time.

  13. #13
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    I did hear word of a possible wet April. Let's hope so. I'd rather build trail then keep people off it!

    PS-I've got workday dates for the upcoming season and will be posting soon.

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