SANTA FE — Fire managers on the Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) are looking for an optimal window between Oct. 6 and Nov. 30 to conduct prescribed burns on East Rowe Mesa and the Las Dispensas treatment area near the Gallinas Watershed on the Pecos/Las Vegas Ranger District.
A final decision on whether to proceed with a specific prescribed burn on the SFNF will depend on multiple conditions, including resource availability, fuel moisture levels, air quality and forecasted weather.
Prescribed burns are designed to meet specific objectives and are always managed with firefighter and public safety as the first priority.
The 2,500-acre East Rowe Mesa burn is east of State Highway 34 along Rowe Mesa, 10 miles south of Pecos, NM. Smoke from East Rowe Mesa may impact the communities of Santa Fe, Pecos, Las Vegas, Rowe, Glorieta, La Cueva, North and South San Ysidro, Ilfeld, San Jose, San Juan, Tecolote, Soham, Ribera, Serafina, Bernal and Anton Chico as well as the I-25 corridor, Forest Road 34, County Road 63A and the Pecos National Historical Park.
The 1,204-acre Las Dispensas treatment area is part of a larger project to protect the Gallinas Watershed, a primary water source for the City of Las Vegas. Smoke from the Las Dispensas burn may be visible from Gallinas, El Porvenir, San Pablo, Mineral Hill, San Geronimo, Gascon, Panderies, Las Vegas and along the I-25 corridor.
Prescribed fires are one of the most effective tools available to resource managers for restoring fire-adapted ecosystems and reducing the risk of high-severity wildfire. Fire managers use prescribed fire to improve forest health, remove hazardous fuels, increase firefighter safety, enhance wildlife habitat, and protect communities and watersheds.
The SFNF manages all prescribed fires in compliance with New Mexico state regulations on air quality and smoke management. 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 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://facnm.org/smoke#smokeanchor5.
Fire updates will be posted on the New Mexico Fire Information website and on the Santa Fe National Forest’s Facebook and Twitter pages. For more information, contact the Pecos Ranger Station at 505.757.6121 or the Las Vegas Ranger Station at 505.425.3534.