SANTA FE ― The Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) may proceed with the previously announced Pacheco Canyon prescribed burn this weekend if conditions, including fuel moisture levels, air quality, wind direction and weather forecasts, are favorable.
Fire managers are looking at Saturday or Sunday to conduct this one-day burn. If conditions over the weekend are not optimal, the prescribed burn may be pushed into next week.
The 500-acre unit is adjacent to Forest Road (FR) 102, approximately six miles east of Tesuque Pueblo and three miles west of Ski Santa Fe.
Smoke will likely be visible from Santa Fe, Tesuque, Nambe, Los Alamos and Pojoaque as well as the I-25 and US 285/84 corridors. Smoke is expected to flow and settle into low-lying areas at night and may affect areas near Santa Fe, Tesuque, Nambe, Pojoaque and Rio Chupadero.
Historically, low- to moderate-intensity wildfires burn through southwestern dry conifer forests like the SFNF every seven to 15 years as part of a natural cycle that reduces forest fuels, recycles nutrients and increases habitat diversity. Prescribed fire is one of the most effective tools available to restore fire-adapted ecosystems like the SFNF. Prescribed fires are managed with firefighter and public safety as the first priority.
The 2,200-acre Pacheco Canyon project is part of the Greater Santa Fe Fireshed project area. The Greater Santa Fe Fireshed Coalition (GSFFC) is a collaborative effort focused on making the forested areas within a 107,000-acre perimeter surrounding Santa Fe more resilient to wildfire, insects and disease, drought and climate change.
Smoke-sensitive individuals and people with heart or respiratory problems are encouraged to take precautionary measures. Information on air quality and protecting your health by using the 5-3-1 visibility method can be found online at the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) Environmental Public Health Tracking (EPHT) website at https://nmtracking.org/fire. People with health concerns can also call NMDOH at 505-827-0006 for additional information. For information on the HEPA filter loan program, go to https://www.santafefireshed.org/hepa-filter-loan-program/.