Carson National Forest Plans Spring Prescribed Burns to Reduce Fuels before Wildland Fire Season

TAOS, NM – Mar. 2, 2021 —Fire managers on the Carson National Forest are planning to strategically implement prescribed burns across the forest this spring to reduce hazardous fuels before the onset of the 2021 wildland fire season. Fuels treatments are an effective way to slow wildfires and change fire behavior.

The decision to implement a specific prescribed burn depends on multiple conditions, including the national wildland fire preparedness level and resource availability, fuel moisture levels, air quality, ventilation, and forecasted weather and winds. During the COVID-19 pandemic, fire managers consider smoke impacts to communities before making a final decision to implement a prescribed fire.

Each prescribed burn is designed to meet specific objectives and will be managed with firefighter and public safety as the first priority. The projects under consideration between now and the end of May are:

  • Approximately 4,967 acres for the Ring unit within the Valle Vidal near Cimarron, New Mexico. The intent is to treat fuels that have accumulated over the last 15 years and reintroduce fire onto the landscape to imitate a more natural fire regime.
  • 1,300 acres for the La Jara unit in Taos Canyon.
  • 140-acre broadcast burn for the Eul unit on Carracas Mesa in the Jicarilla Ranger District.
  • 1-acre pile burn on Cabresto Mesa in the Jicarilla Ranger District.
  • 902 acres for the Mesita broadcast burn in Canjilon, New Mexico.
  • 1,243 acres for the Ensenada broadcast burn in El Rito, New Mexico.
  • 1,893 acres for the Martinez Canyon broadcast burn in Tres Piedras, New Mexico.

Smoke may be visible from the surrounding areas during and after ignitions begin. The Carson National Forest manages prescribed fires in compliance with New Mexico state regulations on air quality and smoke management. 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.

Prescribed fire is part of a science-based framework for managing ponderosa pine and dry mixed-conifer forests like the Carson National Forest to reduce the risk of high-severity wildfire and allow low-intensity fire to play its natural role in a frequent-fire ecosystem.

Fire updates will be posted on the Carson National Forest websiteNew Mexico Fire Information website and on the Carson National Forest Facebook and Twitter pages.

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