SANTA FE — Fire managers on the Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) are looking at a potential window to implement the previously announced La Presa prescribed burn on Mesa los Indios near Forest Road 473.
If conditions are favorable, crews could treat the 1,200-acre unit as early as the last week of October.
A final decision on whether to proceed with the La Presa prescribed burn will depend on multiple conditions, including the national wildland fire preparedness level and resource availability, fuel moisture levels, air quality and forecasted weather. Fire managers will also take a risk-informed approach to managing prescribed fire during COVID-19.
Depending on conditions, crews may begin blacklining to prepare for aerial ignitions that will mimic natural fire regimes and reduce the risk of high-severity wildfire. Prescribed fire is an effective tool to reduce hazardous fuels, improve wildlife habitat, and create healthier, more resilient forest and watershed ecosystems.
Each prescribed burn is designed to meet specific objectives and will be managed with firefighter and public safety as the first priority.
The SFNF manages prescribed fires in compliance with New Mexico state regulations on air quality and smoke management. Smoke will likely be visible from US Highway 112, US Highway 84 and NM Highway 96 as well as the communities of Lindrith, Llaves, Abiquiu, Gallina, Tierra Amarilla, El Vado Canjilon, Ghost Ranch and Cañones.
Smoke-sensitive individuals and people with respiratory problems or heart disease 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 (NMDOH) Environmental Public Health Tracking (EPHT) website. Information on the Forest Stewards Guild’s HEPA Filter Loan Program is available here.
If the SFNF implements the La Presa prescribed burn, hunters in New Mexico game management unit 5B are advised to avoid the La Presa area to protect their safety and to allow fire operations to proceed.