Pile Burn Squad set to work on backlog of piled fuels on private lands. Courtesy/Fire Adapted NM
SANTA FE — Since 2018, a diverse array of partners have worked with The Nature Conservancy’s Rio Grande Water Fund and the Forest Stewards Guild to implement prescribed fire across over 7,400 acres to protect water sources, wildlife, and forests while reducing wildfire risk.
These forests are adapted to fire and need low-intensity burns to remain healthy. The All Hands All Lands Burn Team (Burn Team) is a fully qualified team designed to lead prescribed burns or support others in burning across a variety of land jurisdictions.
At the onset of the COVID19 pandemic, the Burn Team took a strategic pause from prescribed fire operations and focused on burn planning and on learning how to operate safely in a COVID19 environment.
The result of that strategic pause and learning is that the Burn Team is mobilizing a 4-person Pile Burn Squad (Squad) from November 2020 to March 2021 to work on the backlog of piled fuels on private lands.
The Burn Team may also support burns on municipal, federal, or tribal jurisdictions as they develop. In close coordination with the Pueblo of Santa Clara, the Burn Team is actively working together to implement a pile burn.
Prescribed burns planned for this winter season include Glorieta Camps Piles (Santa Fe County); El Salto Piles (Taos County); Casa Angelica Piles (Sandoval County); and Santa Clara Bosque Piles (Rio Arriba County).
Piles are created from hand-thinning projects and are part of a long-term process to make forests and watersheds more resilient. Even in cases where usable forest products like firewood, latillas or vigas are able to be removed and utilized, the tops and limbs of trees remain and are often piled for future burning.
The Squad will aggressively use emissions reductions techniques to minimize smoke impacts. They will do this in close coordination with local fire departments and air quality regulators. The Squad plans to conduct regular small-scale pile burns to reduce the pile backlog.
Media, elected officials, and landowners interested in observing a burn are encouraged to contact Eytan Krasilovsky as soon as possible to coordinate.
To find out more and stay up to date, visit https://facnm.org/our-projects/all-hands-all-lands-burn-team. More information on smoke, human health, and a HEPA Filter Loan Program can be accessed here, https://facnm.org/smoke. Learn more about Fire Adapted Communities New Mexico at www.facnm.org.
For more information call/text 505.470.0185 The Burn Team is supported by an agreement between The Nature Conservancy and USDA Forest Service. The Forest Stewards Guild is an equal opportunity provider.