Fire Managers Stop Ignitions on Santa Fe Watershed Prescribed Burn


SFNF News:

Fire managers from the Santa Fe National Forest Fire stopped ignitions for today at 1 p.m. on the Santa Fe Watershed pile prescribed burn.

Thirty-five acres of slash piles were completed with prescribed fire. There will be no additional burning in the area for the rest of the week. Residual smoke will be visible for a few days. 

Through the night and tomorrow, fire managers will monitor today’s burning activities. Tonight, flames / fire will be visible from the burn area, which is located one mile east of Hyde Park Estates. This is expected, please don’t be alarmed. 

Concerned citizens called and emailed to voice their concerns about windy conditions. Prescribed burns are conducted when specific conditions and criteria align to allow fire managers to safely conduct the burn, while achieving desired objectives.

  • Conditions include:
  • temperature;
  • humidity;
  • wind;
  • moisture of the vegetation; and
  • conditions for effective smoke dispersal.

Some wind was needed for smoke to disperse properly. It is also important to remember that wind speeds decrease at higher elevations because slopes / mountains reduce wind flow. Today, the City of Santa Fe experienced 25 to 40 MPH winds from the southwest with gusts up to 60 MPH, while the burn area experienced 10 to 18 MPH winds from the southwest.

 Santa Fe Watershed Pile Prescribed Burn, Española Ranger District:

  •  Slash piles consist of branches, limbs, brush, and other debris that were thinned with chainsaws where mechanical equipment could not be used due to steep terrain. After thinning, slash is piled, dried, and burned during winter when snow is on the ground to keep fire from spreading to surrounding vegetation.
  • Today wind from the southwest blew the smoke to the northeast, away from the City of Santa Fe.
  • The purpose of the burn is to reduce hazardous fuels, provide community and watershed protection, and restore forest health. 
  • Tonight, smoke could possibly settle into drainages and valley bottoms but should lift by mid-morning.
  • Smoke-sensitive individuals and people with respiratory problems are urged to stay indoors with windows and doors closed when possible.
  • For more information on how to minimize health impacts from smoke, contact the New Mexico Department of Health at 1-888-878-8992 or visit:
  • Smoke from prescribed fires is considerably less and of a shorter duration than smoke from wildfires that can burn for weeks and even months at a time.
  • The Santa Fe National Forest is committed to protecting sensitive areas from smoke to the greatest extent possible. All prescribed burning is coordinated with NM Air Quality Bureau.
  • Prior to actual ignition, fire managers will be considering many factors including: snow on the ground, fuel moisture levels, current and projected weather forecasts, fire personnel resources available, and air quality. All these factors need to be in alignment in order to carry out a successful prescribed burn treatment.

For more information, call 505.438.5321 or email