Prescribed Burn Set to Start in Gallinas Watershed

SANTA FE, NM – September 26, 2017 For Immediate Release – A prescribed burn in the Gallinas Watershed on the Pecos/Las Vegas Ranger District may begin as early as tomorrow.  The decision to burn on Wednesday will be dependent on favorable conditions, including fuel moisture levels, air quality, weather forecasts and available resources.  The Gallinas Canyon 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.

The 800-acre Gallinas Watershed treatment area is located approximately 20 miles northwest of Las Vegas, NM. Crews plan to begin hand ignitions in the east block of the Gallinas Watershed El Porvenir Las Dispensas project area.  Fire managers plan to burn 100 to 150 acres per day.

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. Prescribed fires are managed with firefighter and public safety as the first priority.

Smoke from the Gallinas Watershed prescribed burn will be monitored to ensure that the New Mexico Environment Department’s Air Quality Bureau regulations are met. Smoke may be visible in EV Long Campground and the communities of Gallinas, El Porvenir, San Pablo, Mineral Hill, San Geronimo and Gascon. Smoke may impact NM HIghway 65, the main access to the Gallinas corridor, and the area around Hermit’s Peak. Smoke is expected to disperse during the morning hours.  Smoke may also be visible from Panderies, Las Vegas, and along I-25 north and south of Las Vegas.

Smoke-sensitive individuals and people with heart or 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, please contact the Pecos/Las Vegas Ranger Station at 505-425-3534.



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