Ignitions to Begin on Cedar Springs and Virgin Mesa Prescribed Burns (SFNF)

SANTA FE, NM – Sept. 26, 2016 For Immediate Release.  Fire managers on the Santa Fe National Forest hope to conduct portions of the previously announced Virgin Mesa and Cedar Springs prescribed burns this week, dependent on favorable conditions, including fuel moisture levels, air quality and weather forecasts.

The plan is for crews to construct a 60-foot-wide blackline around the perimeter of the north block of the Virgin Mesa planning area on Tuesday, followed by aerial ignitions on Wednesday.   The 1,350-acre block is located one mile west of Jemez Springs on top of Virgin Mesa in the Jemez Ranger District.

Recent and predicted moisture on the 2,187-acre Cedar Springs planning area has caused fire managers on the Cuba Ranger District to postpone most of the Cedar Springs prescribed burn.  If conditions are favorable, crews may treat a total of 200 acres on Wednesday, which will facilitate the larger burn at a later time.

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.  Each prescribed burn is designed to meet specific objectives.  The Virgin and Cedar Springs prescribed burns are designed to remove dead forest fuels caused by disease and insects, provide community protection and promote forest health.  Prescribed fires are managed with firefighter and public safety as the first priority.

Smoke from the prescribed burns will be monitored, and the information will be available to provide health advisories as necessary.  Smoke from the Virgin Mesa fire will likely be visible from NM Highway 4 between La Cueva and the Jemez Pueblo, NM Highway 550 from San Ysidro to Bernalillo, Albuquerque, and Interstate 25.  Smoke from the Cedar Springs burn will be minimal.

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’s website at https://nmtracking.org/fire.

For additional information about these prescribed burns, please contact the Cuba Ranger District at 575-289-3264 or the Jemez Ranger District at 575-829-3535.


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