Prescribed Burn Planned in the Santa Fe Watershed on the Santa Fe National Forest Española Ranger District

SANTA FE, NM – March 22, 2016For Immediate Release – Fire managers on the Santa Fe National Forest are planning to conduct prescribed burns on a total of 850 acres in the Santa Fe Watershed on the Española Ranger District throughout the spring, if conditions are favorable.  Once ignitions have started, they are expected to last two to three days.

Fire managers would like to treat approximately 200 acres as early as Thursday, March 24, 2016, but that window is dependent on favorable conditions, including fuel moisture levels, air quality, weather forecasts and available resources.  The 200 acres of broadcast treatment will be done with hand and aerial ignitions in the lower watershed adjacent to Nichols Reservoir on the south side of the Santa Fe River.

Other areas planned for treatment this spring include:

  • 120 to 150 acres of piles treated with hand ignitions in the lower watershed.
  • 500 acres treated with aerial ignitions in the upper watershed Wilderness Area.

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 wildlife habitat diversity. Each prescribed burn is designed to meet specific objectives. The Santa Fe Watershed prescribed burn is 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 prescribed pile burn 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 will likely be visible from Santa Fe, Tesuque, Glorieta, Pecos Canyon, El Dorado and I-25.  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

For additional information about this prescribed burn, please contact the Española Ranger Station at 505-753-7331.


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