SFNF Cuba District Plans Pile Burns to Reduce Fuels

SANTA FE, NM – Jan. 6, 2021 – Fire managers on the Cuba Ranger District of the Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) are looking for optimal windows to implement planned prescribed pile burns between now and March 31 to reduce fuels, restore wildlife habitat and improve forest health.

The planned units are the 379-acre Ojitos pile burn a mile east of the Rancho del Chaparral Girl Scout Camp and the 90-acre Poso/Sanchez pile burn east of Dead Man Lookout and the community of Llaves.

The decision to proceed with implementation depends on multiple conditions, including snowpack, fuel moisture levels, air quality, wind direction and weather forecasts. Each prescribed burn is designed to meet specific objectives and will be managed with firefighter and public safety as the first priority.

Winter is an optimal time to burn slash piles because snow on the ground keeps the fire from spreading to adjacent vegetation. Generally, pile burns produce less smoke and burn with less intensity than broadcast burns across a larger landscape.

The SFNF manages prescribed fires in compliance with New Mexico state regulations on air quality and smoke management. Smoke from the Ojitos pile burn will likely be visible from US Route 550, Cuba, Jemez Springs, San Ysidro, La Cueva and Seven Springs. Smoke from the Poso/Sanchez pile burn is likely to impact US Route 84, NM State Road 96, Regina, Lindrith, El Vado, Chama, Abiquiu and Tierra Amarilla. 

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 can be found online at the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) Environmental Public Health Tracking (EPHT) website. Information on the Forest Stewards Guild’s HEPA Filter Loan Program is available here.

Fire updates will be posted on the SFNF website, New Mexico Fire Information website and on the Santa Fe National Forest Facebook page and Twitter @SantafeNF.

For more information, contact the Cuba Ranger District at 575-289-3264.

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