SFNF – Santa Fe Watershed prescribed burn underway


Santa Fe Watershed prescribed burn underway

 SANTA FE, NM – September 24, 2018 – For Immediate Release.  Fire managers on the Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) are taking advantage of favorable conditions, including fuel moisture levels, air quality, and winds and weather forecasts to conduct a prescribed burn today in the Santa Fe Watershed.

 A total of 545 acres are to be treated today between two separate units approximately three miles east of the City of Santa Fe.  One unit is 450 acres northeast of Nichols Reservoir, and the other is 500 acres just south of McClure Reservoir. Both units will be conducted by hand and aerial ignitions, and smoke impacts should be minimal due to previous prescribed burns in both areas.

Historically, low- to moderate-intensity wildfires burn through southwestern dry conifer forests like the SFNF every seven to 15 years on average as part of a natural cycle that removes leaf litter, eradicates disease and thins understory, which makes room for new growth.  Prescribed fire is one of the most effective tools available to restore fire-adapted ecosystems like the SFNF by applying low- to moderate-intensity fire to the landscape under specific conditions within predetermined boundaries.

The 17,384-acre Santa Fe Watershed provides 40 percent of the water to the City of Santa Fe. Specifically designed to improve and protect the watershed, the prescribed burn will remove dead forest fuels and reduce the risk of high-intensity wildfire. Prescribed fires are managed with firefighter and public safety as the first priority.

Due to the Watershed’s proximity to the city, and the terrain that tends to direct smoke toward Santa Fe, populated areas may be impacted.  Smoke will likely be visible from Santa Fe, Tesuque, Glorieta, Pecos Canyon, El Dorado and I-25.  Smoke may settle into lower elevations and drainages overnight, but should lift by midmorning.  Smoke may linger for up to one week after ignitions are complete.

Smoke/Air Quality: Information on air quality and protecting your health by using the 5-3-1 visibility method can be found online at the New Mexico Department of Health’s website at https://nmtracking.org/fire. For information on the HEPA filter loan program, go to https://www.santafefireshed.org/hepa-filter-loan-program/.

Fire updates are posted on the New Mexico Fire Information website at www.nmfireinfo.com and on Twitter @SantaFeNF, and www.facebook.com/SantaFeNF. For more information, contact the Española Ranger Station at (505) 753-7331.


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