Taos, NM – The Questa Ranger District of the Carson National Forest is planning implementation of a prescribed burn on the east side of the Valle Vidal. This burn is scheduled to begin sometime during the next two weeks as conditions become favorable, and will take two to three days to complete.
The Valle Vidal prescribed burn is comprised of approximately 2,600 acres and is located east of the McCrystal Campground within the Whitman Vega Pasture. The project will be treated with a broadcast burn which consists of the application of fire through hand ignition within well-defined boundaries.
Pine litter, grasses, and large loadings of dead and down woody debris are the primary fuels found in the area. The purpose of the burn is to improve wildlife habitat by decreasing the density of tree stands and increasing the diversity of tree size and age. The prescribed burn will also help with the restoration of meadows and reduce the potential for a high intensity stand replacing fire.
Historically, low-intensity wildfires burned through southwestern forests every two to 10 years as part of a natural cycle. Prescribed burns have proven effective in changing fire behavior by allowing fire to perform its natural role in the environment. These burns also result in minimal impacts to air quality while smoke from uncharacteristic wildfires may pose significant risks to public health and safety. Prescribed fires are managed with firefighter and public safety as the first priority.
Smoke will be visible from the communities of Eagle Nest, Cimarron and Ute Park.
Smoke will be monitored and the information made available to provide health advisories as necessary. Lingering smoke may be present for up to one week after ignitions are complete. 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 at the New Mexico Department of Health website at https://nmtracking.org/fire.