Gallinas Watershed Prescribed Burn Wraps Until Next Week

SANTA FE, NM – Oct. 14, 2016 – For Immediate Release – Fire managers are postponing the completion of the prescribed burn in the Gallinas Watershed until at least Tuesday, Oct. 18, based on predicted winds over the weekend and into Monday.

At the end of operations today, fire crews had completed an estimated 200 acres in the Gallinas wildland-urban interface (WUI) project area. The 1,300-acre Gallinas Watershed treatment area is located approximately 20 miles northwest of Las Vegas, NM. The Gallinas Watershed is located on the east side of the forest, and due to the location and terrain in and around Gallinas Canyon, smoke from this prescribed burn is not expected to contribute to air quality impacts the City of Santa Fe experienced from the Santa Fe Municipal Watershed prescribed burn.

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 continue to 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

For additional information about these prescribed burns, please contact the Pecos/Las Vegas Ranger Station at 505.425.3534.

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