SFNF Plans to Continue Prescribed Burns on East Side

SANTA FE, NM – Dec. 5, 2017 For Immediate Release – Fire managers on the Pecos/Las Vegas Ranger District of the Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) expect to continue prescribed burns in the Gallinas Watershed and the La Cueva unit throughout December if conditions, including fuel moisture levels, air quality and weather, remain favorable.

Ignitions on the 800-acre Gallinas Canyon prescribed burn could resume 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.

Work on the 150- to 300-acre La Cueva unit will focus on an area along Forest Road 375, approximately 7 miles north of the intersection of NM Highway 50 and County Road 63A.  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, NM Highway 50 and NM Highway 63 through Pecos Canyon.

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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