SANTA FE ― Fire managers on the Santa Fe National Forest are planning to conduct a prescribed burn in Gallinas Canyon on the Pecos/Las Vegas Ranger District.
The window for the Gallinas Canyon prescribed burn will open Oct. 1 and extend through Dec. 31. The decision to burn will be dependent on favorable conditions, including fuel moisture levels, air quality, weather forecasts and available resources.
The 500-acre Gallinas Canyon treatment area is located approximately 20 miles west/southwest of Las Vegas, NM. Crews will use hand ignitions in the south block of the Gallinas Watershed to treat 100 to 150 acres per day.
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. Each prescribed burn is designed to meet specific objectives.
The Gallinas Canyon prescribed burn is designed to improve and protect the Gallinas Watershed, the primary water source for the City of Las Vegas, by reducing the risk for high-intensity wildfire.
Prescribed fires are managed with firefighter and public safety as the first priority. Smoke from the Gallinas Canyon prescribed pile burn will be monitored to ensure that New Mexico Environment Department’s Air Quality Bureau regulations are being met.
Lingering smoke may be present for up to one week after ignitions are complete. Smoke may be visible from Gallinas, El Porvenir, San Pablo, Mineral Hill, San Geronimo, Gascon and Las Vegas.
Smoke may also impact visibility on Highway 65, the main access to the Gallinas Canyon corridor, and around Hermit’s Peak. Smoke-sensitive individuals and people with respiratory problems are encouraged to take precautionary measures.
Information on air quality and protecting your health can be found online at the New Mexico Environment Department’s website.
For additional information about these prescribed burns, please contact the Pecos/Las Vegas Ranger Station at 505.425.3534.