POSTPONED: Lincoln National Forest, Prescribed Burn Planned in the 16 Springs Area, Sacramento Ranger District

UPDATE: 11/30/2021 The 16 Springs Prescribed Burn has been postponed.

CLOUDCROFT, NM – 11/29/20: The Sacramento Ranger District plans to begin prescribed burning in the 16 Springs area approximately 3 miles north of Mayhill, NM beginning the last week in November and continuing throughout the winter and spring as conditions allow. Smoke from the prescribed burn is expected to travel northeast towards Roswell but may impact nearby homes.

Map of the 16 Springs Prescribed Burn north of Mayhill, NM.

Why We Prescribe Burn

A healthy forest is a resilient forest that undergoes fire regularly, just as it has for thousands of years.

“We are centered on long-term forest health, which includes reducing forest fuels and using prescribed fire on the landscape,” said Fire Management Officer Caleb Finch. 

This past summer, the country saw the devastating effects of intense wildfires. Thousands of acres burned, and poor air quality permeated much of the western United States on and off. Prescribed fire is used to reduce risks associated with uncharacteristic wildfires that can pose significant threats to public health and safety.

How are Prescribed Burns Conducted

Before beginning a prescribed fire, fire managers evaluate local weather patterns, temperatures, relative humidity, wind speed and direction, fuel moistures, and smoke ventilation. Daily ignitions will only occur when environmental factors align with the required prescription that will achieve desired results and meet land management objectives. Prescribed fires are conducted in a controlled environment with experienced fire managers on-site carefully implementing the ignition and holding functions on the fire.

Air Quality: Prescribed Fires vs. Wildfires

Officials recognize that impacts to air quality during a prescribed burn may be unpleasant at times. However, prescribed burns significantly reduce the amount and duration of smoke more effectively than in an uncontrolled wildfire situation. Additionally, fire managers will actively monitor atmospheric conditions daily and use strategies to minimize smoke impacts to rural developed areas.


During operations, fire personnel and vehicles working in these vicinities may be visible to the public. Motorists are reminded to slow down and drive with heightened caution when passing through active project areas.

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