The Valles Caldera Trust is planning to implement a prescribed pile burn today and Wednesday, Dec. 17.
The prescribed pile burn will be on 75 acres of the Valles Caldera National Preserve, north of N.M. 4 in the Banco Bonito area near mile marker 30. The purpose of the burn is to reduce hazardous fuels and the chance for future catastrophic fire and for the restoration of fire in a fire-adapted ecosystem.
Because of the location and elevation, smoke from the burn may be visible from all directions coming into the Jemez Mountains area. Smoke may have variable effects on neighboring communities including La Cueva, Sierra Los Piños, Jemez Springs and areas near N.M. 4. The burn activity is not expected to impact recreation sites or necessitate road closures.
The pretreatment of the forest substantially reduced the amount of fuel in the project area and lessened the associated production of smoke. However, smoke from any prescribed fire 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. Staying indoors as much as possible will reduce exposure to smoke. Avoid or limit physical activities outdoors.
In the evenings, smoke settles into low-lying areas including drainages and lifts by mid-morning when the sun rises. Residents living in such low-lying areas may be most affected. Information on health impacts from smoke can be found by calling the New Mexico Department of Health at 1.888.878.8992 or visit https://nmtracking.org/fire.
More information about the Preserve can be found at www.vallescaldera.gov.