SFNF Fire Crews Meet Objectives on Watershed Prescribed Burn

SANTA FE, NM – April 19, 2017 – For Immediate Release. Fire managers on the Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) said today that the prescribed burn implemented one week ago in the Santa Fe Municipal Watershed successfully met objectives, removing heavy fuels to reduce the risk of high-intensity wildfire and restore the landscape to historic conditions.

Although aerial and hand ignitions were completed on April 11, the 340-acre treatment area still has a few interior pockets of fuel that are smoldering, which may create visible smoke in the Santa Fe metro area. Fire crews are monitoring the treatment area between the Nichols and McClure Reservoirs on a daily basis.

“Approximately 40 percent of the City of Santa Fe’s water supply originates on the Santa Fe National Forest,” SFNF Forest Supervisor James Melonas said. “Sustaining these vital ecosystems is an important part of our mission, and we are fortunate to have strong support from our partners, most notably the City of Santa Fe.”

Melonas also thanked the public for its support. “We recognize that the inevitable smoke from a burn so close to the community is difficult for many people. We are working closely with our partner agencies at the city and the state to manage smoke impacts from prescribed burns and maintain acceptable air quality.”

Historically, low-intensity wildfires burned through ponderosa pine forests like the Watershed every seven to 15 years as part of a natural cycle that removed leaf litter, eradicated disease and thinned the understory, making room for new growth. Prescribed fires are one of the most effective tools available to resource managers for restoring fire-adapted ecosystems like the SFNF by applying low-intensity fire to the landscape under specific conditions within predetermined boundaries.

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