Fire managers on the Santa Fe National Forest are planning to conduct a prescribed burn in the Santa Fe Watershed on the Española Ranger District.
The prescribed burn was postponed last spring due to high winds and ”red flag” weather conditions, which could have resulted in extreme fire behavior.
Fire managers would like to complete the Santa Fe Watershed burn by the end of September, but that window is dependent on favorable conditions, including fuel moisture levels, air quality and weather forecasts, and may be extended further into the fall months.
Approximately 844 acres may be treated with hand and aerial ignitions. The Santa Fe Watershed burn area is located approximately 2 miles east of the city of Santa Fe and west of the Agua Sarca drainage. Once ignitions begin, they are expected to last for two to three days.
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. Each prescribed burn is designed to meet specific objectives. The Santa Fe Watershed prescribed 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 the Santa Fe Watershed prescribed pile burn will be monitored to ensure that 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 will likely be visible from Santa Fe, Tesuque, Glorieta, Pecos Canyon, El Dorado and I-25.
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 Española Ranger Station at 505.753.7331.