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Forest Service firefighters ignite timber piles in N.M.

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SUNSPOT, N.M. (AP) — U.S. Forest Service firefighters ignited timber piles in the Lincoln National Forest in the first controlled burn on federal land in New Mexico since the devastating Cerro Grande Fire.

With humidity at 50 percent and lush green grass surrounding the mounds of timber, the real threat Tuesday was that the piles would not burn, said Mike Kremke, the forest's fire management officer.

Piles of tree limbs and forest debris were ignited on part of 350 acres near the Sunspot National Solar Observatory and the Apache Point Stellar Observatory. The burn was scheduled to last until Sunday.