Beginning today, Wednesday Oct. 17, if conditions are favorable, fire managers plan to begin the 7,300 acre San Juan prescribed burn, located 3-5 miles northeast of Jemez Springs.
Approximately 2,500 acres are expected to be treated each day. Prescribed burning is the managed application of fire to wildland fuels (woody material) under specified conditions, within predetermined boundaries in an effort to reduce hazardous fuels, provide community protection, and restore forest health.
The burn area is located three to five miles northeast of the Jemez Springs and four to eight miles northwest of the community of Ponderosa.
During the three to five day burning period, 7,300 acres of hazardous fuels will be treated with hand and aerial ignitions. Approximately 2,500 acres are expected to be treated each day.
The majority of the area has been treated with prescribed fire before, expect for one small block. This type of burn is known as a maintenance burn with an initial entry treatment.
The initial entry treatment area is located in Canon de la Canada.
In the evenings, flames/fire will be visible from Cat and San Juan Mesas. Residents will see a “glowing mountain.” This is expected, don’t be alarmed.
Larger blocks will be treated over a five day period which will increase daily smoke volume, but will decrease the number of days smoke is in the air.
Ignitions will not exceed more than five days. After ignitions are complete residual smoke will be visible for a few days.
Prior to the burn, fire managers consider many factors including: fuel moisture levels, wind conditions, temperatures, relative humidity levels, resources availability, and air quality conditions in determining whether to ignite or not.
The Santa Fe National Forest is committed to reducing smoke impacts. Smoke is being monitored and the Forest Service will comply with New Mexico air quality regulations.
Smoke from the burn will be visible from La Cueva, Jemez Springs, Canon, Ponderosa, Jemez Pueblo, San Ysidro, Zia Pueblo, Bernalillo, Rio Rancho, Albuquerque and areas off of I-25 and NM 550. Smoke is expected to settle into lower elevations and in drainage areas during the evenings, but will lift by mid-morning.
The Santa Fe National Forest realizes that smoke from prescribed fire can be a nuisance to some people and a health concern for others, such as 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.
For more information on how to minimize health impacts from smoke, contact the New Mexico Department of Health at 1-888-878-8992 or click on the Smoke & Your Health Link on the right.
Forest Roads 10, 135, 136, and 269 will be impacted during the prescribed burn. Drive slowly through these areas and expect delays.
To understand more about the terminology used to talk about and describe fire, please visit the following on-line Wildland Fire Terminology Glossary:
For information on the benefits of fuels treatments visit: www.firescience.gov.