Preserve Our Fire Control Access Trails

Too many new Angel Fire home builders are blocking access to our network of Fire Control Access trails.

A thoughtful generation, probably the LeBus family, built a network of access roads throughout the forest in Angel Fire.  Today they look more like trails than roads, averaging 25 feet wide and completely cleared of trees these trails criss-cross Angel Fire home sites.
As an Angel Fire property owner of more than 25 years I see an alarming trend developing that ignores the importance of these access trails.  More and more driveways constructed that are blocking access to these vital access trails.

It's just as easy, when designing and building your driveway, to include access to the trails if your driveways crosses them.

New home owners, unfortunately, can't depend on local builders or village construction inspectors to advise them of this issue.  It's up to you as the new home builder to educate yourself on important safety issues when building a home in the forest.

Aside from the obvious safety value of these trails they are also a valuable Angel Fire hiking, snow shoeing and cross counrty skiiing resource.  Please do your part to protect them!

The following is what the National Forest Service says about forest access roads and their importance to fire safety.

“The 192 million acre National Forest system contains over 383,000 miles of roads — eight times the mileage of the interstate highway system. Most of the forest road network was built to facilitate timber harvesting. However, recreational forest users quickly adopted the roads as did the forest service itself for fire prevention and wildlife management. Recreational users alone make some 850 million visits per year to the national forests to camp, motorbike, ride horse back, hunt and hike.

In the last decade, the government has reduced logging in national forests. Timber harvests have plunged 75 percent from 12 billion to less than 4 billion board feet per year. Road building has declined from 2,000 miles in the 1980s to less than 500 miles per year in the late 1990s.

During this time, fire damage to homes and property increased sixfold to  $3.2 billion by 1997. This figure excludes the cost from wildfires and mismanaged controlled burns since 1997. It also excludes the estimated $1 billion replacement costs of the homes and belongings lost in the Los Alamos fire as well as other associated economic and environmental costs (e.g., temporary housing, clearing damaged homes and timber, reseeding, controlling erosion, etc.). So far in 2000, more than 55,000 wildfires have blackened more than 4 million acres.

Wildfires that destroy 1,000 acres or more have increased from 25 in
1984 to 89 per year in 1996. This spring alone, excluding Los Alamos, New Mexico has lost 200,000 acres to flames four times more than in 1999. Only 38 out of 3,700 prescribed fires set since 1968 have gone out of con-
trol, but the losses in terms of human life and property damage have been enormous.”

Please pitch in and help educate your new neighbors to the importance of preserving Angel Fire's fire control access trails.

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