Gila National Forest: East Centerfire Prescribed Burn planned on Quemado Ranger District

Quemado, NM, March 8, 2019—For Immediate Release.  The Gila National Forest, Quemado Ranger District plans to conduct a broadcast burn for late March – early April, weather dependent. The project plan is for 4,105 acres in the East Centerfire Unit, which is adjacent to Upper Cottonwood Canyon and Freeman Mountain, over a five-day period. The fuels in this area include ponderosa pine, other mixed conifers and grasses. This project is funded in part by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, the Habitat Stamp Program and New Mexico Department of Game and Fish.

Fire managers consider forecasted weather, fuel moistures and other conditions to determine optimal windows to conduct controlled burns. 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 burns are designed to meet specific objectives, including reducing hazardous fuel accumulation, removing slash from thinning and firewood gathering, providing community protection and promoting forest health.  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, including threatened and endangered species, and promote the growth of healthy trees, wildflowers and other plants.

Smoke will be visible and could impact private residents in Spur Lake Basin and Centerfire Bog. Smoke will be visible from Highway 32, Highway 60, and Luna. With the predicted winds coming predominantly from the southwest, Highway 32 and Apache Creek could be impacted in the early morning and evening hours.  Smoke from the prescribed burn will be monitored to ensure that the New Mexico Environment Department’s Air Quality Bureau regulations are being met.  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:

For information on this prescribed fire, please go to  For information on the Gila National Forest, check out our website at or join the conversation on Facebook at or follow us on Twitter @GilaNForest.

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