Lincoln National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
3463 Las Palomas
Alamogordo, NM 88310
The Rawhide Fire was active over the weekend as crews conducted aerial and hand ignition operations targeting areas of unburned and thicker fuel loads. The lighting-caused fire burning five miles northwest of Sitting Bull Falls has now increased to 8,004 acres.
The fire is moving across the 21,500-acre planning area thanks in part to the hot and dry weather conditions established over the weekend. This week, firefighters are targeting an additional 1,500-2,000 acres in the Lawyer Canyon area. Residents and visitors might see continued smoke, especially during the warmer, drier afternoon and early evening hours. Unneeded fire resources are beginning to be released to other incidents, although local fire engines will remain in place to continue ignition operations and monitor the fire. The Rawhide Fire burned with low-to-moderate intensity in an area with no structures or other values at risk. This type of fire behavior has beneficial results on the landscape including reducing dead and down woody debris on the forest floors. Allowing this lightning-caused wildfire to clean up forest fuels may lessen the severity of future wildfires in the area. Low-intensity fire also produces important soil nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorous, which acts as a natural fertilizer. This, in turn, can stimulate new plant growth. “We are very pleased with the outcomes of this wildfire so far,” stated Fire Staff Officer, Ryan Whiteaker. “Naturally ignited fires play an important role in moving our public lands towards a more fire-resilient ecosystem.”