Gila NF: Reserve Ranger District planning a prescribed burn near Rancho Grande/Five Bar Subdivision

Reserve, NM, November 19, 2018—For Immediate Release.  The Reserve Ranger District, Gila National Forest is planning on igniting 1,000 acres broadcast burning located around the Reserve Airstrip and adjacent to Rancho Grande Subdivision. The prescribed burn is tentatively scheduled for the week of November 26, when desired weather and fire conditions permit. The project should be completed within a 5-7 day period. The Reserve WUI Prescribed Burn is a Wildland/Urban Interface Fuel Reduction treatment for the protection of the public, firefighters, property, homes, and other structures. The prescribed fire will also reduce the risk of wildfire spread to and from the surrounding area.

Reserve WUI (Airstrip Burn Unit 1) is located on the Reserve Ranger District within the Gila National Forest, approximately seven (7) miles southwest of Reserve along the east side of Highway 12 between Five Bar Subdivision and Rancho Grande Subdivision. The project area encompasses 800 acres of primarily ponderosa pine stand with grass or needle cast understory and activity fuel (thinning slash) throughout.  Burn Unit 2 is located southwest of Rancho Grande (adjacent) and is approximately 200 acres of broadcast and pile burn.

Prescribed fires are one of the most effective tools available to resource managers and mimic natural fires by reducing forest fuels, recycling nutrients and increasing habitat diversity.  Prescribed burns are designed to meet specific objectives, including providing community protection and promoting forest health.  Fire managers consider forecasted weather, fuel moistures and other conditions to determine optimal windows to conduct controlled burns. Prescribed burns are always managed with firefighter and public safety as the first priority.

By adding the right fire to the landscape at the right place at the right time, controlled burns mitigate the risk of high-intensity wildfire, reduce the spread of insects and disease, improve habitat for wildlife, and promote the growth of healthy trees, wildflowers and other plants.

Smoke will be visible in the area, and has potential to impact nearby residence and highway travel.  The Reserve WUI burn will have smoke impacts along NM Hwy 12 during ignition periods and in the early part of the day and late evenings. Fire managers will monitor smoke impacts and utilize all methods of ignitions techniques/sequences to minimize smoke when possible.  Careful coordination with state smoke regulators, local residence, and possibly burning smaller burn blocks (within the burn unit) daily will help minimize smoke. The Forest Service will coordinate with New Mexico Environment Department and Department of Health to issue any needed alerts. Smoke-sensitive individuals and those with respiratory or heart disease should take precautionary measures.  Air quality information and health protection measures are posted online at the New Mexico Department of Health’s website:


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