SANTA FE ― Fire managers on the Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) are planning a prescribed burn near the community of Mesa Poleo on the Coyote Ranger District.
Hand ignitions could begin as early as Tuesday, March 21, if conditions, including weather, winds and air quality, are favorable.
The SFNF hopes to treat 300 acres of hazardous fuels located 1.5 miles southwest of the community of Mesa Poleo and 3 miles southwest of Coyote. Fire crews expect to treat 50 to 100 acres per day as long as conditions remain favorable. Although Forest Roads 62, 172 and 103 will remain open, the SFNF discourages travel and camping in this area due to smoke.
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 Mesa Poleo prescribed burn is designed to promote forest health and provide community protection by mitigating the risk of wildfire in the wildland-urban interface (WUI). The WUI is defined as the area or zone where structures and other development meet wildland and vegetation that can fuel wildfire.
Prescribed fires are managed with firefighter and public safety as the first priority.
Smoke from the prescribed burn will be monitored to ensure that New Mexico Environment Department’s Air Quality Bureau regulations are being met, and the information will be available to provide health advisories as necessary. Smoke from the Mesa Poleo burn may be visible from Coyote, Youngsville, Gallina, Ghost Ranch, Abiquiu, Canjilon, NM 96 and US 84. Smoke is expected to settle into lower elevations and drainages during the evenings but should lift by mid-morning. Lingering smoke may be present for up to one week after ignitions are complete.
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 website at https://nmtracking.org/fire.
For additional information about the prescribed burns, please contact the Coyote Ranger District at 575.638.5526.