SANTA FE ― Based on smoke impacts to the City of Santa Fe and data on air quality, the Santa Fe National Forest decided today to conclude the prescribed burn in the Santa Fe Municipal Watershed.
Fire crews used hand and aerial ignitions on Wednesday and Tuesday to burn approximately 1,785 acres of the 2,435-acre planning area. Forecasted afternoon and evening winds did not materialize as expected, and an inversion kept smoke over the city. Air quality monitors on Upper Canyon Road and at the state’s Harold L. Runnels Building at Alta Vista and St. Francis Drive indicated unhealthy levels of smoke.
The decision to stop ignitions on the Santa Fe Watershed burn was made by the Santa Fe National Forest in consultation with the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) and New Mexico Department of Health. Fire managers may consider treating the remaining 650 acres at a later date, depending on favorable conditions, including weather, wind and ventilation. Fire crews will continue to monitor the treatment area, including aerial observations, to ensure that the prescribed fire remains contained.
Lingering smoke may be visible from Santa Fe, Tesuque, Glorieta, Pecos Canyon, El Dorado and I-25 for up to a week. 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 Department of Health’s website at https://nmtracking.org/fire.
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 wildlife habitat diversity. The Santa Fe Watershed prescribed burn was designed to improve and protect the Santa Fe Watershed, a primary water source for the City of Santa Fe, byremoving dead forest fuels and reducing the risk of high-intensity wildfire. Prescribed fires are managed with firefighter and public safety as the first priority.
For additional information about this prescribed burn, please contact the Española Ranger District at 505.753.7331.