BLM to implement prescribed fire in McKinley and Sandoval counties

Beginning Nov. 25 – Dec. 23, the Bureau of Land Management Rio Puerco Field Office, in cooperation with the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, plans to conduct the Mesa Chivato prescribed fire on approximately 500 acres within the Ignacio and Chamisa Wilderness Study Areas.  Fire managers estimate it will take approximately 2-4 days to complete the burning operations, although smoke may be visible for longer.  The exact timing of implementation will largely depend upon weather conditions.

The project location is west of Highway 550 and 15 miles southwest of San Luis, N.M.  Depending on weather conditions, smoke may be visible during and for several days after the burn is conducted.  The prescribed burn is being conducted to reduce the severity and risk of wildfire.

The Mesa Chivato prescribed fire is part of a multi-year forest restoration project within the two wilderness study areas.  The goal is to improve ecological health of ponderosa pine forests and open up grassy meadows that have become choked with piñon and juniper trees and dense stands of ponderosa pine.

Prescribed burning is one of the most effective tools to control vegetation.  By reducing the volume of vegetation under the prescribed conditions, land managers mimic the natural fire cycle, which greatly reduces the dangers and risks associated with unplanned wildfires.

For additional information about this project, please contact BLM Rio Puerco Field Office Prescribed Fire Specialist Pete Rivera at 505-761-8943.  You can also follow implementation of this project on, on Twitter @nmfireinfo or on

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