SANTA FE, NM – Oct. 11, 2016 – For Immediate Release – Fire managers on the Santa Fe National Forest plan to continue the Gallinas Watershed prescribed burn that began last week on the Pecos/Las Vegas Ranger District. The decision to burn on Wednesday will be dependent on favorable conditions, including fuel moisture levels, air quality, weather forecasts and available resources.
The 1,300-acre Gallinas Watershed treatment area is located approximately 20 miles northwest of Las Vegas, NM. Crews treated approximately 20 acres last week, halting operations when wind speeds increased. They hope to use hand ignitions to initially treat 180 acres in the Las Dispensas area and a possible 450 acres in the Johnson Mesa area. The Gallinas Watershed is located on the east side of the forest, and smoke from this prescribed burn is not expected to contribute to air quality impacts from the Santa Fe Municipal Watershed prescribed burn due to the location and terrain in and around Gallinas Canyon.
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 Gallinas Watershed prescribed burn is designed to improve and protect the Gallinas Watershed, the primary water source for the City of Las Vegas, by reducing the risk for high-intensity wildfire. Prescribed fires are managed with firefighter and public safety as the first priority.
Smoke from the Gallinas Canyon prescribed burn will be monitored to ensure that the 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 Gallinas, El Porvenir, Panderies, Rociada, San Pablo, Mineral Hill, San Geronimo, Gascon, I-25, and Las Vegas.
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 Environment Department’s website at https://nmtracking.org/fire.
For additional information about these prescribed burns, please contact the Pecos/Las Vegas Ranger Station at 505-425-3534.
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