Valles Caldera National Preserve. Courtesy/NPS
JEMEZ SPRINGS – Valles Caldera National Preserve will initiate prescribed burn projects beginning later this week and early next week, dependent upon suitable weather and fuel conditions.
The prescribed burns will take place within a 630-acre project area in Banco Bonito and a 112-acre area on Cerro Seco. Both locations are within the western half of the preserve. The burn operations will be completed within a 3-10 day period. Brief traffic delays may occur during this time, but are not expected to cause road closures or disrupt visitor activities elsewhere on the preserve.
The parameters for implementing a prescribed burn are based upon specific assessments, agency guidelines, and safety protocols. Managers continuously monitor weather conditions during a burn including wind, temperature, and relative humidity. Fuel quantity and moisture are also measured. The project will not begin unless all conditions support the burn and associated resources are available. If conditions are not right, the burn may be postponed.
Because of the location and elevation, smoke from the burn may be visible from all directions coming into the Jemez Mountains area. Smoke can linger for a few days after the burn and can be a nuisance to some people. It may be a health concern for 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. Information on health impacts from smoke can be found by calling the New Mexico Department of Health at 1.888.878.8992 or by visiting https://nmtracking.org/fire.
Smoke/Air Quality: 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’s website at https://nmtracking.org/fire.
For more information, contact Valles Caldera National Preserve at 575.829.4100.