Gila National Forest: Indian Peaks Prescribed Fire Planned on Black Range Ranger District

Truth or Consequences, NM, April 1, 2021.  For Immediate Release. The Black Range Ranger District is prepared and ready to implement the Indian Peaks Prescribed Fire Project, Units 15 and 17, beginning mid-April, conditions permitting. The estimated project size is 10,873 acres on National Forest System lands (735 acres on private and New Mexico State lands).  The district is closely monitoring onsite fuel conditions and forecasted weather. This project includes Forest roads (FR) 4052J, FR 644, FR 4025B, FR 584, FR 14, FR 944 and New Mexico State Highway 163 may be impacted by smoke and fire personnel traffic to and from the project.

Objectives for the Indian Peaks Prescribed Burn include:

  • Introduced and maintaining fire across 50-80% of the landscape within the next decade.
  • Reducing natural and activity fuel accumulations.
  • Introducing and maintaining fire back into a fire dependent ecosystem.

The project boundaries have been prepared by limbing and brushing existing roads and placing control lines.

Prescribed fires are one of the most effective tools available to resource managers. These fires mimic natural fires by reducing forest fuels, recycling nutrients, and increasing habitat diversity.  Prescribed burns are designed to meet specific objectives, including providing community protection and promoting forest health.  Prescribed burns are always managed with firefighter and public safety as the first priority.

Duration of smoke production is hard to predict, but high-density smoke should dissipate out within one to two days after active ignitions cease. Smoke will settle in drainages and valley bottoms during the evening and early morning hours. There is the possibility for the communities of Winston, Monticello, Dusty and the Middle Rio Grande Valley to experience smoke impacts. Smoke-sensitive individuals and those with respiratory or heart disease should take precautionary measures.  Air quality information and health protection measures are posted online at the New Mexico Department of Health’s website:  https://nmtracking.org/fire.  

For information on the Gila National Forest, check out our website at https://www.fs.usda.gov/gila or join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

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