Managed Fires on Santa Fe National Forest Met Objectives

SANTA FE, NM – Sept. 21, 2016 For Immediate Release.  Fire managers on the Santa Fe National Forest have completed operations on both the 329-acre 138 Fire on the Jemez Ranger District and the 700-acre Cuerno Fire on the Coyote Ranger District.  Both the 138 and Cuerno Fires were lightning-caused and presented opportunities to capitalize on natural ignitions to achieve multiple objectives on the landscape.

Objectives for both fires included:

  • mitigating the risk of high-intensity destructive wildfires by reducing excess fuels, including ponderosa pine litter, dried grasses, and dead and down timber
  • providing point protection for historical and cultural sites and jurisdictional boundaries;
  • improving forest health
  • promoting the growth of grasses and shrubs that provide habitat for game and non-game species.

While objectives for both fires were successfully met, it may take several years to see the full benefit of the managed fires. The burned areas will be assessed over the next few weeks, and the public will be allowed to enter the areas as soon as they are determined to be safe.

The public is urged to use extreme caution when entering a recently burned area.  Fire-weakened or dead trees can fall with no advance warning.  Trees that were completely consumed leave a deep “stump hole” that may not be visible because of ash and dirt.  It is very easy to break an ankle if you step in one.  Stump holes may also hold hot, burning embers for weeks.  Rocks may give way and roll downhill since many of the root systems that held them in place have been burned.

For additional information about these fires contact the Jemez Ranger District at 575-829-3535 or Coyote Ranger District at 575-638-5526.

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