BLM Plans Mertz Ranch Prescribed Fire in Cibola County

Beginning in February, the Bureau of Land Management Rio Puerco Field Office, in cooperation with the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, plans to conduct the Mertz Ranch prescribed fire on approximately 1,000 acres within the El Malpais National Conservation Area (NCA).  Fire managers estimate it will take approximately 2 – 4 days to complete the burning operations, although smoke may be visible for longer.  The exact timing of implementation will largely depend upon weather conditions.

The project location is approximately 40 miles southeast of Grants, N.M., in the Cebolla Canyon area east of State Highway 117.  Smoke may be visible from Interstate 40 and State Highways 53 and 117.

The Mertz Ranch prescribed fire is the second phase of a multi-year forest restoration project on the Cebolla Canyon portion of the NCA.  The goal is to improve ecological health of ponderosa pine forests and open up grassy meadows that have become choked with piñon and juniper trees and dense stands of ponderosa pine.

For additional information about this project, please contact Fire Management Officer Todd Richards at 505-761-8769 or Assistant Fire Management Officer Zach Saavedra at 505-761-8963.

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