National Park Service Plans Prescribed Fire at El Malpais National Monument


Grants, NM – The National Park Service at El Malpais National Monument and the Bureau of Land Management’s El Malpais National Conservation Area plan to conduct a prescribed fire on the west side of the monument near the junction of County Road 42 and the Big Tubes turn-off. The Rendija prescribed fire is approximately 1,500 acres. The prescribed fire may begin as early as late-April through the end of May. The exact dates will be dependent on weather and fuel conditions.

The prescribed fire is expected to last three to five days with smoke present for several days. Firefighters plan to use handheld and aerial ignitions. The Big Tubes Road (NPS 300 Road) will be closed during the burn phase and, if conditions warrant, a pilot car may be used along County Road 42. Please slow down, turn your headlights on, and watch for firefighters working along the road when traveling in this area.

The primary objective of this prescribed fire is to improve forest health by reducing the build-up of vegetation that can fuel a wildfire. Fire plays a natural role at El Malpais National Monument and helps ensure the resiliency of this fire dependent ecosystem.

Over 100 years of fire suppression has occurred on most public lands throughout the western United States, which has greatly affected forest health and wildlife. Without the natural process of fire, southwestern forests and woodlands have become overgrown and vulnerable to drought, insects, and threats of catastrophic wildfire. Restoration of forest and woodland ecosystems using appropriate management actions (e.g. prescribed fires) helps to re-establish the natural fire regime and benefits native plant and animal communities while at the same time protecting visitors, facilities, and resources within and adjacent to the park from unwanted fire effects from wildfires.

For questions about the prescribed fire call the Fire Management Officer Kevin Parrish at (505) 285-4641 ext. 35. More information about prescribed burns visit and for information about fires in New Mexico visit To learn more about planning and implementing prescribed fires by federal agencies, including the National Park Service, visit


For Immediate Release
April 1, 2019
Contact: Ernie Price, 505-285-4641 ext. 18

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: