SANTA FE ― Fire managers on the Española Ranger District of the Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) announced plans to take advantage of favorable fall conditions to conduct prescribed burns on approximately 4,000 acres.
If conditions are favorable, ignitions could begin as early as Sept. 21 on approximately 1,500 acres in the Santa Fe Municipal Watershed east of Santa Fe, 2,300 acres in Mesitas 8 miles southwest of Abiquiu, and another 110 acres on Borrego Mesa 6 miles southeast of Truchas. Fire managers consider forecasted weather, fuel moistures and other conditions to determine optimal windows to conduct controlled burns.
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. Prescribed burns are designed to meet specific objectives, including providing community protection and promoting forest health. Prescribed burns are always managed with firefighter and public safety as the first priority.
By adding the right fire to the landscape at the right place at the right time, controlled burns mitigate the risk of high-intensity wildfire, reduce the spread of insects and disease, improve habitat for wildlife, including threatened and endangered species, and promote the growth of healthy trees, wildflowers and other plants.
Smoke from the prescribed burn will be monitored to ensure that the New Mexico Environment Department’s Air Quality Bureau regulations are being met. Smoke-sensitive individuals and those with respiratory or heart disease should take precautionary measures. Air quality information and health protection measures are posted online at the New Mexico Department of Health’s website: https://nmtracking.org/fire.
For additional information, contact the Española Ranger District at 505.753.7331.