Cibola NF & National Grasslands – Magdalena Ranger District Plan Gallinas Prescribed Burn

MAGDALENA, NM, May 3, 2018 – Fire managers from Cibola National Forest and National Grasslands will conduct the Gallinas prescribed fire on the Magdalena Ranger District beginning Friday, May 4, 2018. The predicted forecast calls for hot, dry, and windy conditions – those needed to successfully treat pinyon-juniper forests. This treatment was planned nine years ago, but the required conditions, as outlined in the burn plan, have not be conducive until now. If winds exceed the limits set in the burn plan, all ignition operations will cease and the burn perimeter will be secured and monitored.

Ecologically, the Gallinas Prescribed fire is designed to remove encroaching conifer trees from historic open meadows and canyon bottoms, increase the diversity of ground vegetation, stabilize soils, remove dead debris from the forest floor, and restore the natural fire regime. Aerial and hand ignition will be used to treat up to 3,400 acres in the project area, located on the west side of the Gallinas Mountains in Socorro County.

Smoke will likely be visible from US Highway 60 and State Highway 169, west and northwest of Magdalena, NM. Smoke impacts may occur on Forest Roads 10, 10D, 10E and 128 particularly in the evening hours when temperatures cool. Smoke will be monitored to assess potential health impacts and the Forest Service will coordinate with New Mexico Department of Health website at http://nmtracking.org/fire.

District Fire Management Staff Officer Ken Watkins stated, “Conditions in the Gallinas Mountains have not yet warranted the need for fire restrictions, which are otherwise in place forest-wide. The Cibola is comprised of many different landscapes that need to be assessed on an individual basis; each is carefully evaluated before initiating treatments or restricting activities.”

To learn more about state-wide fire activity, visit New Mexico Fire Information at https://nmfireinfo.com/. If you have questions about the Gallinas prescribed fire, please contact Cindy Wolfe at the Magdalena Ranger District – 575-854-2281 or email: cwolfe@fs.fed.us.

 

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