Majority of wildfires in state caused by humans

Posted at: 05/15/2014 5:49 PM
By: Jorge Torres, KOB Eyewitness News 4

The Signal Fire that's still burning in the Gila National Forest appears to be human-caused.

Fire investigators haven't said exactly how, but people have been behind several wildfires in New Mexico. Last year, the majority of wildfires here were human-caused.

The massive Wallow Fire that burned along the border with Arizona in 2011 was sparked by an unattended campfire.

An El Paso man was charged with starting the Last Chance Fire near Carlsbad, also in 2011. Authorities say the man was burning toilet paper at a campsite and left the fire unattended. The fire damaged several buildings.

"Human-caused fires over the last few years have really evolved starting with 2011 when we had such a disastrous fire season. We saw so many unique causes to fires," said Dan Ware with the New Mexico State Forestry.

According to New Mexico State Forestry officials, the top 4 things people do to start wildfires are:

     -Not properly putting out campfires.

     -Burning trash/debris and the flames get out of control.

     -Using equipment that can create sparks.

      -Your car.

"We're talking blown tires, exhaust emissions, catalytic converter parts, brake pad pieces, barbecue grills. It ran the gamut of human causes," Ware said.

State Forestry has started the "One Less Spark" campaign. It lets people know all the ways they could start a wildfire.

To find out how you can prevent the next wildfire, click on the link below.