Prescribed Burn Planned on the El Rito Ranger District

Taos, NM (September 10, 2018) – For Immediate Release.  Fire managers on the El Rito Ranger District of the Carson National Forest hope to take advantage of favorable conditions, including fuel moisture levels, air quality and forecasted weather to conduct a prescribed burn sometime between September 24th and October 26th, 2018.

The Alamosa prescribed fire will be a broadcast burn up to 2,833 acres, comprised of two different units located 7 miles north of El Rito, west of the village of Vallecitos. The burn is intended to improve wildlife habitat, reduce hazardous fuels, improve range/grazing conditions and protect the adjacent community of Vallecitos and other nearby private ranches.

Communities that could be impacted by smoke: Vallecitos, Petaca, La Madera, Ojo Caliente, El Rito, Cañon Plaza and possibly in Espanola in the evening when the smoke settles.  Smoke may be visible from the following areas: State Highway 111, State Highway 554, State Highway 110, US Highway 285, Vallecitos, Ojo Caliente, La Madera, Petaca, Las Tablas, Servilleta, Cañon Plaza, Mesa Vista, El Rito and possibly Española.

A community meeting about the Alamosa prescribed burn is planned for Saturday, September 22nd from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the community center/library in Vallecitos.

Prescribed fires are one of the most effective tools available to resource managers for restoring fire-adapted ecosystems. 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 will be monitored to assess potential health impacts and the Forest Service will coordinate with the New Mexico Environment Department and New Mexico Department of Health (DOH) to issue any needed alerts. 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 New Mexico DOH website at

For additional information contact the El Rito Ranger District at 575-581-4554.



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