BLM plans prescribed fire in Socorro County

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Socorro Field Office, in cooperation with private landowners, will burn sacaton draws east of Socorro, N.M., between Feb. 27 and March 31, weather permitting. During this week, Fire Management crews monitor daily weather to decide which date the burn will take place.  Up to 800 acres of grass and brush will be burned in several burn units. Two units are located three to 12 miles north of US Highway 380 and approximately 16 miles east-southeast of Socorro, N.M. The third unit is on the east end of Socorro County and south of Hwy 380.

Active ignition will take one to two days for each individual burn unit, with some smoke visible in the burn areas for up to a week after ignition operations are completed. 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.  During a prescribed burn 15-20 BLM firefighters  will monitor the burn until there is no visible smoke. Smoke may also be visible from Socorro, White Sands Missile Range and Bingham. Although smoke may be visible from Highway 380, it is not expected to impact the highway. Nevertheless, motorists are advised to proceed with caution when driving through the area.

Objectives for the prescribed burn:

  • Rejuvenate decadent grass;
  • Reduce wildfire risk;
  • Reduce tree encroachment into sacaton draws;
  • Improve ecosystem health; and
  • Enhance wildlife habitat.

Prescribed burning is one of the most effective tools to manage vegetation.  By reducing the volume of vegetation under prescribed conditions, land managers mimic the natural fire cycle, which greatly reduces the dangers and risks associated with unplanned wildfires.

For these prescribed burns, community outreach and coordination have occurred, and will continue with adjacent landowners, range allotment permittees, county fire cooperators, Department of Defense, and New Mexico Forestry. For questions, contact the BLM’s Socorro Field Office at (575) 835-0412. For updates, go to or follow us on Twitter @nmfireinfo or on Facebook at

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