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USFS seeks help determining cause of blaze

SANTA FE, N.M. — The U.S. Forest Service is asking anyone with information about a series of human-caused fires that last week burned 105 acres in the Carson National Forest north of El Rito to contact them. While investigators have determined the fires were the result of human activity, their exact cause remains unknown.

“These fires unnecessarily put firefighters and the public at risk,” says a Thursday news release.

The Forest Service says 18 separate fires collectively referred to as the Matron Fires were detected Oct. 1 and deemed 100% contained a Oct. 7.

Previously, the Forest Service said that about 60 people, four fire engines and a helicopter were dispatched to the blaze, which was burning about one mile from the El Rito campground. It also urged smoke-sensitive people and those with respiratory problems or heart disease living in and around the communities of El Rito, Medenales, Abiquiu and Taos to take precautions due to diminished air quality from smoke.

The Forest Guild provided the Forest Service with three HEPA filters that were available for loan at the El Rito ranger station.

Anyone with information about the cause of the Matron Fires are asked to call the Forest Service at 505-438-5383.

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