SANTA FE ― Fire managers on the Jemez Ranger District of the Santa Fe National Forest are working with communities to reduce the risk of wildfire by conducting a prescribed burn at the Thompson Ridge slash pit this spring.
The half-acre slash pit, located at the end of Forest Road 106 just north of the community of Thompson Ridge and ten miles north of Jemez Springs, is a collaborative effort between the Jemez Ranger District and the surrounding area to promote fire-adapted communities in the wildland-urban interface (WUI).
WUI refers to the transition zone between natural areas and human development. As more homes are built in the WUI adjacent to public lands that are naturally prone to wildfire, the risk to property is high.
The slash pit gives local residents a centralized location to discard fuels, such as leaves, pine needles, grass, and other yard trimmings, removed from their properties. Slash up to 8 inches in diameter is accepted.
Fire managers would like to complete the slash pit burn between March 4 and April 20, but that window is dependent on favorable conditions, including fuel moisture levels, air quality, weather forecasts and available resources. The burn is expected to last one day.
Prescribed fires are one of the most effective tools available to resource managers for restoring fire-adapted ecosystems. These fires mimic natural fires by reducing forest fuels, recycling nutrients and increasing habitat diversity. The prescribed burns are designed to remove dead forest fuels, provide community protection and promote forest health. Prescribed fires are managed with firefighter and public safety as the first priority.
Smoke from the Thompson Ridge slash pit prescribed burn will be monitored to ensure that New Mexico Environment Department’s Air Quality Bureau regulations are being met. Lingering smoke may be present for up to one week after ignitions are complete. Smoke will likely be visible from Jemez Springs, the Pueblo of Jemez, Gilman, Los Alamos, Albuquerque and Highway 550.
Information on air quality and protecting your health by using the 5-3-1 visibility method can be found online at the New Mexico Department of Health’s website at https://nmtracking.org/fire.