Conditions Look Good for Virgin Mesa Prescribed Burn

SANTA FE, NM – May 1, 2017 For Immediate Release. Fire managers on the Jemez Ranger District of the Santa Fe National Forest hope to conduct the previously announced Virgin Mesa prescribed burn this week if conditions, including fuel moisture levels, air quality and weather forecasts, remain favorable.

The plan is to use hand and aerial ignitions to treat a 600-acre unit at the southern end of Virgin Mesa on Wednesday.

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.  Each prescribed burn is designed to meet specific objectives.

The Virgin Mesa prescribed burn, located within the boundaries of the Southwest Jemez Mountains Landscape Restoration Project, is designed to remove dead forest fuels, provide community protection and promote forest health. Prescribed fires are managed with firefighter and public safety as the first priority.

Smoke from the Virgin Mesa prescribed fire will likely be visible from Jemez Springs, NM Highway 4 between La Cueva and the Jemez Pueblo, US Highway 550 from San Ysidro to Bernalillo, Albuquerque and Interstate 25.

Smoke from the prescribed burn will be monitored to ensure that the New Mexico Environment Department’s Air Quality Bureau regulations are being met. Smoke-sensitive individuals and people with respiratory or heart disease 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 https://nmtracking.org/fire.

For additional information about the prescribed burn, please contact the Jemez Ranger District at 575.829.3535.

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