Smoke from Prescribed Burn in Santa Fe Watershed May Linger through Saturday

SANTA FE, NM – Oct. 28, 2021 – Yesterday’s good ventilation rate and westerly winds overnight helped disperse smoke from the Aztec Springs prescribed burn in the Santa Fe Municipal Watershed and pushed it southeasterly away from Santa Fe. But fair-to-poor ventilation rates today and tomorrow combined with diminishing winds in the 5-10 mph range are likely to bring remaining smoke into town where it may linger through Saturday morning.

Crews on the ground are monitoring the prescribed burn as low- to moderate-intensity flames continue to burn through hazardous fuels on the forest floor. Aerial observation this morning confirmed that all control lines are holding well.

Crews used hand and aerial ignitions yesterday to treat approximately 300 acres north of Nichols Reservoir and Granite Point in the lower section of the Santa Fe Watershed. Ignitions were completed yesterday afternoon, but because the Aztec Springs unit sits on a western ridge at higher elevation, smoke is likely to be visible from Santa Fe again today.

Generally, terrain in the Watershed and diurnal flows after sundown will push smoke into the drainages where it will follow the Santa Fe River into town. Light, variable winds forecast for tomorrow make it hard to predict where smoke will linger, but surface winds are expected to pick up on Saturday and disperse remaining smoke by noon.

The SFNF manages all prescribed fires in compliance with New Mexico state regulations on air quality and smoke management. Smoke from the Aztec Springs prescribed burn may continue to be visible from Santa Fe, Tesuque, Glorieta, Pecos Canyon, El Dorado and I-25.

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 by using the 5-3-1 visibility method can be found online at the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) Environmental Public Health Tracking (EPHT) website at People with health concerns can also call NMDOH at 505-827-0006 for additional information. For information on the HEPA filter loan program and how to create a clean air space in your home, go to

The Santa Fe Municipal Watershed, which supplies up to 40% of the water for the City of Santa Fe and the surrounding community, is managed under the City of Santa Fe’s Municipal Watershed Plan that provides a framework for long-term watershed management, source-water protection and funding for forest restoration.

Fire updates will be posted on the New Mexico Fire Information website and on the Santa Fe National Forest’s Facebook and Twitter pages. For more information, contact the Española Ranger Station at (505) 753-7331.

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The Aztec Springs prescribed burn in the Santa Fe Watershed is reducing hazardous fuels and woody debris on the forest floor to protect the Watershed from high-severity wildfire.  Photo credit: USDA Forest Service photo by Jon Boe.

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