Smoke from Santa Fe Watershed Prescribed Burn Will Be Visible Today (SFNF)

SANTA FE, NM – Oct. 13, 2016 – For Immediate Release.  An increase in visible smoke over the Sangre de Cristo Mountains is likely today as fire managers conduct aerial ignitions on the Santa Fe Watershed prescribed burn.  Yesterday crews completed 223 acres of black line around the perimeter of the project area and expect to finish the remaining 2,212 acres today.

The Santa Fe Watershed burn is a maintenance burn under the Santa Fe Municipal Watershed Plan 2010-2029, a collaboration between the USDA Forest Service, City of Santa Fe, Santa Fe Watershed Association and The Nature Conservancy.  The decision to conduct the prescribed burn this week was based on favorable conditions, including weather, winds and ventilation, and made in consultation with the City of Santa Fe, New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) and New Mexico Department of Health.

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.  The Santa Fe Watershed prescribed burn is designed to improve and protect the Santa Fe Watershed, a primary water source for the City of Santa Fe, by removing dead forest fuels and reducing the risk of high-intensity wildfire.  Prescribed fires are managed with firefighter and public safety as the first priority.

Smoke from the prescribed burn is being monitored at two locations – Upper Canyon Road and the Harold L. Runnels Building at 1190 S. St. Francis Drive – 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 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’s website at

For additional information about this prescribed burn, please contact the Watershed Prescribed Burn hotline at 505.438.5321.


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