BLM announces prescribed burn at Dripping Springs Natural Area

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is planning a prescribed burn at the Dripping Springs Natural Area near Las Cruces, N.M. The Dripping Springs prescribed burn is planned for the week of Feb. 27 through March 3. During this week, Fire Management crews monitor daily weather to decide which date the burn will take place.  Per BLM policy, prescribed burns will not take place when a red flag warning has been issued by the National Weather Service for the area where the burn is planned.  

Smoke will be highly visible to the City of Las Cruces and the surrounding communities. The Dripping Springs Trail – that begins at the Visitor Center and heads up to the historic Van Patten Mountain Camp along with the portion of Crawford Trail that meets Dripping Springs Trail – will be closed to the public on the day of the burn. All other trails in the Natural Area will be opened for hiking. Check with the hosts and staff at the Visitor Center for questions on where you can hike the day of the burn, or before you head out check the BLM Las Cruces District Facebook page at: for updates.

During a prescribed burn 15-20 BLM firefighters and personnel monitor the fire. Most of the fuels are consumed during the initial burning period because of the rapid burn of the fuel type. BLM fire engines remain on site until the burn is completely extinguished.

The objective of the burn is to create a “Safety Zone” in the event of a wildfire. This burn creates a safe area for visitors to seek refuge if needed and provides an anchor point for firefighting resources to begin taking suppression actions. Prescribed burning is also one of the most effective tools to control vegetation in areas where wildfires are no longer appropriate. By reducing the volume of vegetation under the specific prescribed conditions, land managers mimic the natural fire cycle, which greatly reduces the dangers and risks associated with unplanned wildfires.

For this prescribed burn, community outreach and coordination have occurred, and will continue with range allotment permittees, local fire cooperators and monument user groups.

For additional information about the prescribed burn, contact BLM Las Cruces District Fuels Specialist Ricky Cox at (575) 525-4467 or BLM Las Cruces District Fire Management Officer Mark Bernal at (575) 525-4305.

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