Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge to Conduct Prescribed Burn East of Roswell

Beginning the week of March 22, Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge plans to implement a prescribed fire project on the Refuge east of Roswell, NM.  The project is expected to take several days to complete.  Approximately 2,700 acres of refuge lands and 550 acres of Bureau of Land Management administered lands will be targeted. The project area is on the east side of the Pecos River approximately two miles north of Highway 380 east.

The purpose of this prescribed burn is to reduce hazardous fuel accumulations reducing the risk of dangerous wildfires, to remove decadent grass fuels, to reduce the density of woody species, and to enhance a natural diversity of habitat types. 

Operations are planned to take several days and will produce a large visible smoke column for several hours each day.  It is expected that the residual smoke will dissipate quickly throughout the afternoon hours. Wind direction and atmospheric conditions will be closely monitored to ensure there are minimal smoke impacts to the public. The burn will be implemented under a strict set of guidelines to provide for public and firefighter safety.

Prior to and during all prescribed fires, fire managers coordinate with the New Mexico Environment Department and follow all air quality regulations. People who are either susceptible to or affected by COVID-19 may have health conditions that also make them vulnerable to smoke exposure. For more information about smoke and protecting your health, please visit

The Refuge visitor center will remain closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information, contact NM Zone Fire Management Officer Ken Roberts at 575-625-4013.

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