SFNF Plans to Proceed with Prescribed Burn in Santa Fe Watershed

SANTA FE, NM – March 28, 2019 – For Immediate Release.  Fire managers on the Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) plan to proceed with the previously announced prescribed burn near Nichols Reservoir in the lower Santa Fe Municipal Watershed as early as April 2, if conditions, including fuel moisture levels, air quality, wind direction and weather forecasts, remain favorable.

Up to 500 acres, including 50 acres of piles, will be treated with hand and aerial ignitions.  Operations should be completed within a day.

The Santa Fe Watershed prescribed burn is specifically designed to improve and protect the 17,384-acre Municipal Watershed, which provides 40 percent of the water for the City of Santa Fe, by removing dead forest fuels and reducing the risk of high-intensity wildfire.  Prescribed fire is always managed with firefighter and public safety as the first priority.

Due to the Watershed’s proximity to the city and terrain that tends to direct smoke toward Santa Fe, prescribed burns within its boundaries may impact populated areas.  The SFNF works closely with the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) and the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) to monitor air quality during a planned ignition and limit the severity of smoke impacts.

Smoke will likely be visible from Santa Fe, Tesuque, Glorieta, Pecos Canyon, El Dorado and the I-25 corridor.  Smoke may settle into lower elevations and drainages overnight but should lift by midmorning.  Lingering smoke may be present for up to one week after ignitions are complete.

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, www.facebook.com/SantaFeNF and Twitter @SantafeNF.

For more information, contact the Española Ranger Station at 505-753-7331.

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