Smoke Continues to Disperse After Santa Fe Watershed Prescribed Burn
SANTA FE, NM – September 29, 2015 – For Immediate Release. Fire managers on the Santa Fe National Forest completed ignitions in the Santa Fe Watershed at approximately 2:30 p.m. Monday. While smoke from the burn did impact Santa Fe and surrounding communities, residual smoke continues to disperse, and air quality around the city continues to improve.
Winds out of the north-northwest funneled much of the smoke over the I-25 corridor yesterday. Smoke that settled in the Santa Fe metro area overnight has been slow to break this morning. With light winds expected today, smoke should clear by early afternoon. Lingering smoke is expected each morning in Santa Fe over the next few days, but conditions will continue to improve.
The reduced air quality due to the prescribed burn is expected to last through Tuesday morning. For young children, adults over age 65, pregnant women, and people with heart and/or lung disease, asthma or other respiratory illnesses this may mean staying indoors until noon or until air quality improves. However, the best way to determine what action to take is to use the 5-3-1 visibility rule. Please go to the New Mexico Department of Health website at https://nmtracking.org/fire to learn more.
The Santa Fe Watershed treatment area, totaling 844 acres, is located approximately 1.5 miles east of the city of Santa Fe. A high-severity wildfire in the Santa Fe Watershed would put 40% of the city’s water supply at extreme risk and could cost up to $300 to $400 million in fire suppression, rehabilitation, and dredging and filtration costs.
To mitigate that risk, the City of Santa Fe, the Santa Fe National Forest, the Santa Fe
Watershed Association, and The Nature Conservancy have been working together to develop a long-term management plan to provide a reliable supply of water for city residents by maintaining the health of the forest and proactively addressing the fire hazard within the Watershed’s 17,384 acres. The recent prescribed burn is part of the implementation phase of that strategy.
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