5th Symposium on Fire and Forest Meteorology and the 2nd International Wildland Fire Ecology and Fire Management Congress

Thursday, 20 November 2003: 2:00 PM
Wildland Fire Use Gila National Forest, NM 2003—The Future is now
Paul F. Boucher, Gila National Forest, Silver City, NM
The Gila National Forest got involved in 2003 with wildland fire use in mid April. The Forest received good winter and early spring moisture associated with a mild El Nino Southern Oscillation. In previous years with this pattern the Gila was able to conduct large-scale fuels reduction burn under several strategies including confine and prescribed natural (wildland fire use). The results this year were large surface fuels were reduced to white ash but fires for the most part remained low to moderate intensity surface burns. This was at a time in the Southwest where record high ERC’s (energy release component) were common with high temperatures and low relative humidity’s that made stand replacement crown fires common throughout the region. The success of this program my pave the way for others to become involved and through implementation eventually reduce the risk of catastrophic stand replacement fires throughout the west.

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