SANTA FE ― Fire managers on the Santa Fe National Forest plan to continue the Gallinas Watershed prescribed burn next week, focusing on a 180-acre block in the Las Dispensas area and a 1,120-acre unit on Johnson Mesa.
Ignitions may begin Monday, Dec. 5, if conditions, including fuel moisture levels, air quality and weather forecasts, are favorable and may continue through Thursday, Dec. 8.
The Gallinas Watershed, located approximately 20 miles northwest of Las Vegas, NM, is a priority for forest restoration, including prescribed burning, because it is the primary water source for the City of Las Vegas. Fire managers hope to take advantage of favorable windows to continue treatment in the Gallinas Watershed throughout the remainder of the fall season.
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 Gallinas Watershed prescribed burn is designed to improve and protect the Gallinas Watershed by reducing the risk for high-intensity wildfire. Prescribed fires are managed with firefighter and public safety as the first priority.
Smoke from the Gallinas Canyon prescribed burn will be monitored to ensure that the 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 may be visible from Gallinas, El Porvenir, San Pablo, Mineral Hill, San Geronimo, Gascon, Panderies, Las Vegas and along the I-25 corridor.
Smoke-sensitive individuals and people with respiratory problems are encouraged to take precautionary measures. Information on air quality and protecting your health can be found online at the New Mexico Environment Department’s website at https://nmtracking.org/fire.
For additional information about these prescribed burns, please contact the Pecos/Las Vegas Ranger Station at 505.425.3534 or 505.757.6121.