Fire Crews Conduct Prescribed Burn in Santa Fe Municipal Watershed


SANTA FE, NM – Nov. 16, 2017 – For Immediate Release.  After assessing conditions again this morning, fire managers on the Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) are proceeding with a prescribed burn on 248 acres within the Santa Fe Municipal Watershed.  Hand and aerial ignitions are expected to wrap by 2:00 p.m. today.

The 248-acre treatment area is approximately 4 miles east of the City of Santa Fe on the east end of the McClure Reservoir and adjacent to the western boundary of the Pecos Wilderness.  Westerly winds are expected to push smoke away from Santa Fe.  Smoke is likely to be visible in Pecos and surrounding communities but is expected to disperse overnight.

Early-morning haze today prior to ignitions in the Watershed was primarily due to smoke from fireplaces and wood stoves. Prior to the prescribed burn in the Watershed, the SFNF activated air quality monitors on Upper Canyon Road and at the Harold Runnels Building at 1190 S. St. Francis Drive.  Smoke from the Watershed prescribed burn will be monitored for air quality impacts.

Prescribed fires are one of the most effective tools available to resource managers for restoring fire-adapted ecosystems like the SFNF by applying low- to moderate-intensity fire to the landscape under specific conditions within predetermined boundaries.  The Santa Fe Watershed prescribed burn is specifically designed to improve and protect the 17,384-acre Municipal Watershed, which provides 40% of the water for the City of Santa Fe, by removing dead forest fuels and reducing the risk of high-intensity wildfire.  Prescribed fires are managed with firefighter and public safety as the first priority.

Fire crews in the Watershed include personnel from the Forest Service, City of Santa Fe Fire Department and Santa Fe County Fire Department.  The SFNF works closely with the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) and the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) before, during and after planned ignitions near population centers to limit the severity of smoke impacts.

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 NMDOH website at

For additional information about this prescribed burn, please contact the Española Ranger Station at 505.753.7331.

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