SANTA FE – Fire managers on the Santa Fe National Forest are continuing a prescribed pile burn on the Jemez Ranger District this week.
The Virgin Mesa prescribed burn may be conducted through March 31, if conditions, including fuel moisture levels, air quality and weather forecasts, are favorable.
The Virgin Mesa prescribed pile burn is 450 acres in an area one mile west of Jemez Springs and eight miles north of the communities of Gilman and Cañon. Small blocks may be treated each day to decrease the daily smoke volume.
Prescribed fires are one of the most effective tools available to resource managers for restoring fire-dependent ecosystems. These fires mimic natural fires by reducing forest fuels, recycling nutrients and increasing habitat diversity. The Virgin Mesa prescribed pile burn is 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 both prescribed burns will be monitored to ensure that the New Mexico Environment Department’s Air Quality Bureau regulations are being met. Smoke from the Virgin Mesa prescribed burn will likely be visible from Jemez Springs, Cañon, La Cueva, Sierra Los Pinos, Jemez Pueblo, San Ysidro, Zia Pueblo, Bernalillo and Rio Rancho. Visibility may also be impaired in areas off U.S. Route 550 and along N.M. 4 between La Cueva and the Valle Grande.
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, contact the Jemez Ranger District at 575.829.3535.