Camino Real Ranger District Continues Prescribed Burn – June 30, 2019

Taos, NM (June 30, 2019) – For Immediate Release. Fire managers from the Camino Real Ranger District have successfully completed 80 acres of the La Jara prescribed burn over the past two days, and will continue ignitions today. Firefighters utilize hand ignitions to mimic a natural burn used to reduce fuels and cleanup the understory. As the prescribed fire burns up hazardous fuels, smoke may be visible from the communities of Angel Fire, Taos Canyon, Eagle Nest, Valle Escondido, and Black Lake, which may continue to show for several days.

The prescribed burn has received periodic precipitation during and after burning operations. This has been a factor in helping firefighters maintain a low intensity burn which is desirable. Smoke may hang low to the ground at night and in the early mornings the next few days due to the weather phenomenon known as temperature inversion. This occurs when warm air caps the cooler air below it causing smoke to become trapped underneath which will settle into the valley bottoms—most often at night and in the early morning.

The trapped smoke generally begins to lift after the sun rises and heats the earth’s surface. The air heated by the earth’s surface will push the colder layer of smoke up into the higher atmosphere and the smoke mixes with the air above and is transported away. Smoke in the air can also be affected by wind speed and direction.

Prescribed burns are one of the most effective tools available to resource managers for restoring fire-adapted ecosystems. Prescribed fire mimics natural fires by reducing accumulations of hazard fuels, recycling nutrients and increasing habitat diversity. Prescribed fires are always managed with firefighter and public safety as the first priority.

Smoke-sensitive individuals and people with respiratory or heart disease are encouraged to take precautionary measures. Information on air quality and protecting your health can be found online at the New Mexico Department of Health’s website at https://nmtracking.org/fire.

For additional information about these prescribed burns, contact the Camino Real Ranger District at 575-587-2255.

The burn boss trainee gives the morning briefing.

Fire cleaning up ladder fuels in the understory.

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