Maxwell National Wildlife Refuge to Conduct Prescribed Burns

Beginning the week of March 29, Maxwell National Wildlife Refuge plans to implement two prescribed fire projects on the Refuge west of Maxwell, New Mexico (Colfax County).  The projects include two units targeting 500 acres.  

The purpose of these prescribed burns 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 burns 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

Temporary road closures may be necessary to ensure the safety of the public and firefighters.  For more information, contact Ken Roberts, NM Zone Fire Management Officer, at 575-625-4013.

Map of Maxwell National Wildlife Refuge prescribed fire units.

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