Prescribed Burns to Begin on Valles Caldera National Preserve

Jemez Springs, NM — Given favorable conditions, fire managers will begin prescribed burn operations within Valles Caldera National Preserve starting October 17. Burn operations are expected to last a few days, but smoke may be visible through next week.

The prescribed burns will target approximately 700 acres in the Banco Bonito and Cerro Seco areas in the western portion of the preserve.  The burns will not impact most recreational opportunities with the exception of the targeted areas.

The parameters for implementing a prescribed burn are based upon specific assessments, agency guidelines, and safety protocols. Managers continuously monitor weather conditions during a burn including wind, temperature, and relative humidity. Fuel quantity and moisture are also measured. The project will not begin unless all conditions support the burn and associated resources are available. If conditions are not right, the burns may be postponed.

Smoke from the prescribed burns will be monitored to ensure that the New Mexico Environment Department’s Air Quality Bureau regulations are being met.  Smoke will likely be visible from US Highway 550 and New Mexico Route 4 as well as the communities of Jemez Springs and Los Alamos.

Smoke-sensitive individuals and people with respiratory problems or heart disease are encouraged to take precautionary measures. 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 (NMDOH) Environmental Public Health Tracking (EPHT) website at People with health concerns can also call NMDOH at 505-827-0006 for additional information. For information on the HEPA filter loan program, go to

For more information, contact Valles Caldera National Preserve at (575) 829-4100.

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