Mountainair Ranger District Conduct Prescribed Burn Beginning May 1st

Mountainair, NM April 30, 2019: Late winter and early spring storms have given fire managers on the Mountainair Ranger District the opportunity to explore spring prescribed burning in the Manzano Mountains. If conditions are suitable, fire crews will be evaluating parts of the Thunderbird area as well as the Chato burn. These are continuations of the burns conducted in the last several years. The burns are located within the Thunderbird Ecosystem Management Project area on FR#275 and #422 while the Chato burn is located on FR#253. The total acreage is approximately 1400 acres but is broken into several small blocks, not all adjacent to each other. These blocks have been previously thinned so fire personnel will be re-entering the area to burn excess material left behind.

The burns will begin May 1st and may continue through the weekend as weather permits. Fire managers will be evaluating resource availability, weather patterns and fuel moistures to determine the best day and time to implement any burns. Once ignited, fire crews will monitor the burns.

The goal of these burns is to improve watershed and wildlife biodiversity and help protect private property in the event of a wildfire by reducing fuel loading (fuel available to burn). Our ecosystem depends on fire to promote new vegetation, enhance habitat and reduce the threat of large fire. It also improves public and firefighter safety by reducing the accumulated fuels that could otherwise contribute to more intense fire behavior under hotter and drier conditions.

During the prescribed burn, roads directly affected by the burn may be closed to the public. Signs will be posted in any areas with temporary road closures. Temporary road signs warning about smoke and activity on the roads will be posted on State Highways 131 and 55 along with Forest Roads #422, #253 and #275. Smoke may be noticeable throughout any of the local mountain communities and could include the Estancia Valley and the west side of the Manzano Mountains. Smoke may be seen as far north as State Highways 217 and 337 in the Tijeras area. Fire fighters will make every attempt to burn during times of the day when ventilation is optimal. Additional fire vehicles will be in the area patrolling and monitoring the roads. Please drive carefully when on affected roads as visibility might be impacted due to smoke.

For further information contact Arlene Perea at 505-506-1959, 505-847-2990 or atperea@fs.fed.us.

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