Pecos/Las Vegas Ranger District Plans to Resume Prescribed Burns as Early as Tomorrow

SANTA FE, NM – Nov. 29, 2017 For Immediate Release – Fire managers on the Pecos/Las Vegas Ranger District of the Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) are planning to conduct prescribed burns in the Gallinas Watershed and La Cueva treatment units between now and Dec. 31, 2017.  The decision to proceed will be dependent on continuing favorable conditions, including fuel moisture levels, air quality, weather forecasts and available resources.

Crews expect to continue ignitions on the 800-acre Gallinas Canyon prescribed burn as early as tomorrow, treating up to 300 acres per day.  The project 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-severity wildfire.  The Gallinas Watershed treatment area is located approximately 20 miles northwest of Las Vegas, NM.

The 300-acre La Cueva unit, approximately 5 miles northeast of Pecos, could begin as early as Tuesday, Dec. 5, and will be completed by Dec. 31.  The La Cueva prescribed burn is designed to remove dead forest fuels, provide community protection and promote forest health.

Prescribed fires are one of the most effective tools available to resource managers for restoring fire-adapted ecosystems like the Santa Fe National Forest. 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 and La Cueva prescribed burn will be monitored to ensure that the New Mexico Environment Department’s Air Quality Bureau regulations are met.  Smoke from the Gallinas Watershed prescribed burn may be visible from the communities of Gallinas, El Porvenir, San Pablo, Mineral Hill, San Geronimo, Gascon, Panderies and Las Vegas.  Smoke could also impact the I-25 corridor and NM Highway 65, the main access to the Gallinas corridor.

Smoke from the La Cueva project may be visible from La Cueva, Pecos, Glorieta, Terrero, Eldorado and Cañada de los Alamos.  It may also impact I-25 and NM Highway 50.

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 https://nmtracking.org/fire.

For additional information, please contact the Pecos/Las Vegas Ranger District offices at 505.425.3534 or 505.757.6121.

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