Cibola National Forest Districts plan Prescribed Fires

Albuquerque, NM – April 6, 2021 – Cibola National Forest and National Grasslands fire crews plan to conduct the prescribed fire projects on the Mount Taylor, Magdalena and Mountainair Ranger Districts starting as early as April 8th and continuing through April 30th pending suitable conditions.

These projects are designed to reduce the accumulation of hazardous fuels, improve riparian areas and wildlife habitat, protect communities, decrease the potential for future severe wildfire occurrence and improve forest health.

Mount Taylor Ranger District: Copperton RX Burn: Fire crews are looking at burn 3,858 acres on the Copperton unit located 3 miles west of Post Office Flats on Forest Road (FR) 480 in the Zuni Mountains. Smoke will be visible in the surrounding area of Rahma, Gallup, Thoreau, Bluewater, Grants and Millan. 

Magdalena Ranger District: Durfee Bolander RX Burn: Fire crews are looking at burning 2 units in the vicinity of Durfee and Bolander canyon. Unit 2a which is along FSR 549 and 220 is 176 acres and Unit 10 which is along FSR 220 and 473 is 962 acres. Smoke may be visible from the communities of Magdalena, Alamo and Datil. 

Mountainair Ranger District – Thunderbird RX Burn: Fire crews will continue unfinished units within the Thunderbird Ecosystem Management Project areas. Crews will be aiming to complete 183 acres along Forest Road 422, South of Red Canyon. They are also hoping to burn approximately 405 acres within the Thunderbird area near Forest Road 275. These two blocks were previously thinned, so fire personnel will be re-entering the area to burn excess material left behind. 

With fire there is smoke, but compared to wildfires, prescribed fires are shorter in duration and are conducted under weather conditions to minimize the impact of smoke on the public. Fire crews use tactics such as starting early in the day and ending ignitions early in the afternoon to allow for the most ventilation possible throughout the burn and dividing blocks into smaller units to minimize smoke impacts as much as possible. However, smoke may be visible periodically from local communities and the surrounding areas for the duration of the project until the burning vegetation is out. 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.

Our land management strategy is centered on long-term forest health and that strategy includes reducing forest fuels and using prescribed fire on the landscape. A healthy forest is a resilient forest that undergoes fire occurrences on a regular basis. After this prescribed fire is completed, if a future wildfire reaches this area, the fire behavior will likely be modified to a less intense, more manageable surface fire due to the absence of accumulated debris and ladder fuels. 

The Forest Service mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the Nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations.

All fire updates will be posted on the Cibola NF & NGs website, New Mexico Fire Information website and on the Cibola Facebook  & Twitter pages.     

Magdalena Ranger District Office: 575.854.2281.

Mountainair Ranger District Office: 505.847.2990

Mt. Taylor Ranger District Office: 505.287.8833

Cibola National Forest and National Grasslands Supervisor’s Office: 505.346.3900

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