WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) issued the following statement on the U.S. Forest Service report on the Gallinas-Las Dispensas Prescribed Fire that led to the Hermit’s Peak Fire:
“This report makes it clear that the U.S. Forest Service made a number of preventable errors in the lead up to and in the execution of the Las Dispenses escaped prescribed fire, which has now displaced thousands of families and left many communities in northern New Mexico absolutely devastated.
"It's evident that the warming climate is fueling the extremely dry and windy conditions that make our forests more vulnerable. The Forest Service has a responsibility to use the best science and every tool available in order to reduce fuel loads and reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires. But they also urgently need to update their prescriptions and management tools to account for the windier, dryer reality and make sure proper safeguards are in place to prevent this type of disaster from occurring again.
“The Forest Service must account for and learn from its actions in this case. I will continue to secure the resources New Mexico needs to fight these fires, prepare for their aftermath, and make families and communities whole again.”