Prescribed Burn Planned on Santa Fe National Forest Jemez Ranger District

SANTA FE, NM – March 17, 2016 For Immediate Release – Fire managers on the Santa Fe National Forest are planning to conduct the previously announced prescribed burn on the south end of the Paliza treatment area within the boundaries of the Southwest Jemez Mountains Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Project on the Jemez Ranger District.

The window for the Paliza prescribed burn will open March 21 and extend through May 14, 2016. The decision to burn will be dependent on favorable conditions, including fuel moisture levels, air quality, weather forecasts and available resources.

The 5,409-acre Paliza treatment area is located approximately 5 miles southeast of Jemez Springs and 3 miles northeast of Ponderosa, NM, between Forest Road (FR) 137 and FR 266. The South Paliza prescribed burn includes 2,782 acres on the Santa Fe National Forest and 2,627 acres on Jemez Pueblo lands.  Crews will use hand and aerial ignitions. To minimize the smoke impact on local communities, fire managers plan to treat 2,500 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 Paliza 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 Ponderosa, Jemez Springs, Jemez Pueblo, Cochiti Pueblo, San Ysidro, Bernalillo, Albuquerque, and surrounding communities as well as Interstate 25 and Highway 550.  It is likely to settle into low elevations and drainages at night.

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 Jemez Ranger Station at 575-829-3535 or visit New Mexico Fire Information at www.nmfireinfo.com.

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