Use care during the dry season

  • Published
  • By Holloman Fire Emergency Services
  • 49th Civil Engineer Squadron
Spring is here and the weather is great for outdoor activities; but there's an ever-present danger that exists.

The Tularosa Basin had a very harsh winter which brought down snow and frigid temperatures upon us. However, it was not enough to provide the desired water needed for our trees and shrubs of the water table. This will not only affect our regular domestic use of water, but it warrants even more attention toward the use of the forest and the appropriate safety precautions needed to prevent disaster from occurring due to these conditions.

All surrounding parks and recreational areas have been placed under strict advisory. The Lincoln National Forest has implemented Stage II Fire Restrictions. What does that mean to us? The following is prohibited:
- The building or use of a campfire, stove fire or charcoal fire, unless within a Forest Service developed recreational sites where fire rings/pits have been constructed for use.
- Smoking is limited to an enclosed vehicle or a smoking approved building.
- Discarding lit cigars, cigarettes or pipe ashes from moving vehicles.
- Possessing, discharging or using any kind of firework or other pyrotechnic device. On Holloman these items are already prohibited. This includes the use of sparklers.
- Welding or operating acetylene or any other torch with an open flame.
- Operating or using any internal or external combustion engine without a spark arresting device, which is properly installed and maintained.
- Chainsaw use between the hours of 10 a.m. through midnight.

This does not mean all the fun of summer is gone. It does mean in order to preserve the areas around us, we must all be cautious in both what and how we do outdoor activities.

Everyone should observe park fire conditions displayed by the Forestry Department at all the park entrances.

Should you discover a fire, no matter how small, make notifications immediately. A small fire is much easier to contain and extinguish than a fire that has been allowed to burn unchecked.

The next question that normally pops up is, "How do I report a fire when I'm in the middle of a forest?" The rules of engagement are still the same:
- Try your cell phone, dial 911.
- Attempt to find a house in the area with a phone.
- Flag down any vehicle on the road.

In all attempts give the best location and directions to the fire area. Keep yourself safe -- do not re-enter into the fire area.

Forest fires are always of great concern. This year, due to the drought, there is an even greater potential for a mishap. To avoid a disaster everyone should be responsible and obey the rules of the forest.