Prescribed Burn Planned on Santa Fe National Forest Pecos/Las Vegas Ranger District

SANTA FE, NM – March 15, 2016 For Immediate Release – Fire managers on the Santa Fe National Forest are planning to begin the previously announced prescribed burn in Gallinas Canyon and Las Dispensas area on the Pecos/Las Vegas Ranger District on Wednesday, March 23, 2016 if conditions are favorable. Once ignitions have started, they are expected to last up to seven days.

Fire managers would like to complete the Gallinas Canyon burn by Thursday, March 31, 2016, but that window is dependent on favorable conditions, including fuel moisture levels, air quality, weather forecasts and available resources.

The 1,000-acre Gallinas Canyon and 376-acre Las Dispensas treatment areas are located approximately 20 miles northwest of Las Vegas, NM. Crews will use hand ignitions on both areas to treat between 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.  The prescribed burns are designed to remove dead forest fuels, provide community protection and promote forest health. Prescribed fires are managed with firefighter and public safety as the first priority.

Smoke from the Gallinas Canyon and Johnson Mesa prescribed burns 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 I-25, 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 Department of Health website at https://nmtracking.org/fire.

For additional information about this prescribed burn, please contact the Pecos/Las Vegas Ranger Station at 505-425-3534.

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