Gila National Forest: Indian Peaks Prescribed Fire Scheduled to begin Tuesday, May 28 on Black Range Ranger District

Truth or Consequences, NM, May 20, 2019—For Immediate Release. The Gila National Forest, Black Range Ranger District is prepared and ready to implement the Indian Peaks Prescribed Fire Project. The estimated project size is 9,400 acres on National Forest System lands, and an additional 600 acres of New Mexico State Trust Lands and private property inholdings. The district is closely monitoring onsite fuel conditions and forecasted weather. This project area includes portions of Mule, Bear and Kennedy Canyons located northeast of Beaverhead Work Center. Affected Forest Roads (FR) include FR 14, FR 520 and FR 955. New Mexico State Highway 59 and 163 may be impacted by smoke and fire personnel traffic to and from the project.

Objectives for the Indian Peaks Prescribed Fire include:

  • Fire introduced or maintained across 50-80% of the landscape within the next decade.
  • Reduce natural and activity fuel accumulations.
  • Introduce and maintain fire back into a fire-dependent ecosystem.

The project boundaries have been prepared by limbing and brushing existing roads and placing control lines.

The prescribed fire was postponed due to precipitation received early in the month. Fuels have begun to dry again, giving managers an opportunity to implement the prescribed fire.

Duration of smoke production is hard to predict, but high-density smoke should dissipate out within one to two days after active ignitions cease. Smoke will settle in drainages and valley bottoms during the evening and early morning hours. There is a possibility the communities of Winston, Monticello, Dusty, and the Middle Rio Grande Valley may experience smoke impacts. Smoke from the prescribed fire will be monitored to ensure New Mexico Environment Department’s Air Quality Bureau regulations are 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:  https://nmtracking.org/fire.  Information on this fire may be found on Inciweb: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6351/

For information on the Gila National Forest, check out our website at http://www.fs.usda.gov/gila or join the conversation on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GilaNForest/ or follow us on Twitter @GilaNForest.IPvicinity

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