Districts to Implement Prescribed Fire to Reduce Hazardous Fuels

Pile Burning on Mountainair & Sandia Ranger Districts

ALBUQUERQUE, NM – January 30, 2023 – Cibola National Forest and National Grasslands fire crews are preparing this week to strategically implement two prescribed fires within the Mountainair and Sandia Ranger Districts.

Prescribed fires are utilized to remove hazardous fuels, return nutrients to the soil and improve forest health. Fuels specialists write prescribed burn plans that identify – or prescribe – the best conditions under which trees and other plants will burn to safely optimize results. Burn plans consider temperature, humidity, wind, moisture of the vegetation and optimal conditions for smoke dispersal.

Ignition may start as early as January 31 depending upon agency administrator approval and conditions within the ranges outlined in burn plan. Optimal conditions will result in effective smoke ventilation and dispersal and help achieve the desired effects needed to accomplish the burn plan objectives. Pending suitable conditions, winter is an optimal time for pile burning as the weather is cooler, more humid and fire danger is low.

Mountainair Ranger District – Capilla Piles RX Burn: 8 acres of pile burning on the Capilla Fuels Reduction and Restoration Project in the Manzano Mountains located approximately 6 miles northwest of the town of Mountainair in the southern half of the Manzano Mountains, in Torrance County New Mexico. Smoke may be visible in the surrounding areas of Mountainair, Punta de Agua, Manzano, or the Estancia Valley. See Map attached.

Sandia Ranger District – Sandia Piles-Sulphur RX Burn: 100 acres of piles within the Sulphur unit under the Sandia Piles Rx plan. The pile burn area is located in the Sandia east mountains, north of I-40, west of NM-14 and south of NM-536. Smoke may be visible from Albuquerque, Tijeras and Edgewood. See Map attached.

Generally, pile burns produce less smoke and burn with less intensity than broadcast burns across a larger landscape. Fire personnel will monitor the burn perimeter until it is completely out. Smoke may be visible periodically from local communities for the duration of the project until the burning vegetation is out. However, firefighters take measures to reduce smoke impacts as much as possible. Information on air quality and protecting your health can be found online at the www.airnow.gov/

Implementation announcements and updates on prescribed fire projects will be posted on InciWeb, New Mexico Fire Information and on the Cibola NF & NGs website, Cibola Facebook and Cibola Twitter sites.

Mountainair District Office: 505-847-2990

Sandia Ranger District Office: 505-281-3304
Cibola National Forest and National Grasslands Supervisor’s Office: 505-346-3900

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