SFNF Jemez District Plans to Implement Cat Mesa Prescribed Burn

SANTA FE, NM – Feb. 24, 2021 – Fire managers on the Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) are planning to take advantage of favorable conditions, including fuel moisture levels, air quality, wind direction and weather forecasts, to implement a prescribed burn on Cat Mesa on the Jemez Ranger District starting as early as Friday, March 12.

Crews are looking at a window between mid-March and early April to treat approximately 600 acres adjacent to Forest Road 135 about 2.5 miles east/northeast of Jemez Springs. Prescribed fires are always managed with firefighter and public safety as the first priority.

The Cat Mesa prescribed burn will reduce fuels, restore wildlife habitat and improve forest health. Prescribed fire is an effective tool to restore fire-adapted ecosystems like the SFNF by applying low- to moderate-intensity fire to the landscape under specific conditions within predetermined boundaries. Areas treated with prescribed fire can positively impact future wildfires by reducing fire intensity and adverse smoke effects and increasing the safety margin for firefighters.

Smoke management is a key part of the planning and implementation of prescribed burns. The SFNF manages prescribed fires in compliance with New Mexico state regulations on air quality and smoke management. Smoke from the Cat Mesa prescribed burn may impact the communities of Canon, Jemez Pueblo, Jemez Springs, Sierra Los Pinos, La Cueva and Ponderosa. Smoke may also be visible from U.S. Route 550 and I-25.

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 on the Cat Mesa prescribed burn, contact the Jemez Ranger Station at 575-829-3535.

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