SFNF Coyote District Plans Pile Burn to Reduce Fuels

SANTA FE, NM – Jan. 15, 2021 – Fire managers on the Coyote Ranger District of the Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) are looking for an optimal window to implement an 80-acre prescribed pile burn off NM Highway 96 before the end of February to reduce fuels, restore wildlife habitat and improve forest health. The Highway 96 unit is between mile markers 23 and 27.

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 Highway 96 pile burn will likely be visible from Gallinas, Coyote and NM Highway 96. Drivers are urged to use caution.

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 Coyote Ranger District at 575-638-5526.

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