Coyote Ranger District French Mesa Prescribed Burn to Start in Spring

SANTA FE, NM – February 6, 2018 For Immediate Release. To take advantage of favorable conditions, to include fuel moisture levels, air quality and weather forecasts, fire managers on the Coyote Ranger District of the Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) could begin ignitions as early as this spring on the French Mesa to reduce the risk of high-severity wildfire.

Up to 1,000 acres of hazardous fuels could be treated per day by hand and air ignitions in the French Mesa fuelwood area. It is a large scale prescribed burn of 3,580 total acres slated for treatment.

Forest Roads 8 and 11 will remain open, but travelers are discouraged to use the road during times of prescribed burning. Also, try to avoid camping in the vicinity due to the high potential for smoke.

The area is located approximately eight miles north of the community of Gallina, and 18 miles northwest of the Coyote Ranger District office. Smoke is expected to be visible from Gallina, Coyote, Youngsville, Regina, Llaves, Lindrith, Ghost Ranch, Monastery of Christ in the Desert, Abiquiu and possibly Canjilon, Chama, Espanola and Counselor. Smoke may settle into lower elevations and in drainage areas during the evenings, but should lift by mid-morning.

Prescribed burns are one of the most effective tools available to resource managers for restoring fire-adapted ecosystems. The burns mimic natural fires by reducing forest fuels, recycling nutrients and increasing habitat diversity. The French Mesa prescribed burn will specifically remove dead forest fuels, provide community protection and promote forest health. Prescribed burns are managed with firefighter and public safety as the first priority.

Smoke from the prescribed burn will be monitored to ensure that the New Mexico Environment Department’s Air Quality Bureau regulations are met. Smoke-sensitive individuals and people with respiratory problems 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 this prescribed burn, please contact the Coyote Ranger District at 575.638.5526.

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