JEMEZ SPRINGS ― Valles Caldera National Preserve will initiate prescribed burn projects beginning early next week, dependent upon suitable weather and fuel conditions.
The prescribed burn will take place within an approximately 1,200-acre project area in the Banco Bonito district of the preserve – north of N.M. 4 near mile marker 30. The burn operations will be completed in phases over a total of 3-8 nonconsecutive days. Brief traffic delays may occur during this time, but are not expected to cause road closures or disrupt visitor activities elsewhere on the preserve.
Through the prescribed burn, NPS officials hope to decrease the potential for future high-intensity fires by reducing hazardous fuel levels while restoring the beneficial role that fire has played in the ecosystem for thousands of years. The area has been previously thinned and larger materials have been removed from the site. This pretreatment will allow firefighters to safely use low-intensity fire to clean up residual slash and remove seedlings that sprouted since the thinning last occurred.
Because of the location and elevation, smoke from the burn may be visible from all directions coming into the Jemez Mountains area. Smoke can linger for a few days after the burn and can be a nuisance to some people. It may be a health concern for children, pregnant women, senior citizens, and those suffering from allergies, asthma, chemical sensitivities, or other heart or lung diseases. To reduce exposure to smoke, stay indoors as much as possible with windows, doors and vents closed. Avoid or limit physical activities outdoors.