Kiowa Rita Blanca National Grasslands to Conduct Prescribed Fire

Broadcast burning starting as early as March 24

CLAYTON, NM – March 21, 2023 – Cibola National Forest and National Grasslands fire crews are preparing to strategically implement multiple prescribed fires on the Kiowa and Rita Blanca National Grasslands to reduce hazardous fuels and improve wildlife habitat.

Fire crews are preparing to broadcast burn 1,900 acres within burn units K74, K44, K16 and K79 on the Kiowa Rita Blanca Ranger District. Smoke may be visible from Clayton, New Mexico and Felt, Oklahoma. See map attached.

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

With fire there is smoke, but firefighters take measures to reduce smoke impacts as much as possible. Fire crews use tactics such as starting early in the day and ending ignitions early in the afternoon to allow for the most ventilation possible throughout the burn.  However, smoke may be visible periodically from local communities for the duration of the project until the burning vegetation is out. Information on air quality and protecting your health can be found online at the

Our land management strategy is centered on long-term Grassland health and that strategy includes reducing fuels and using prescribed fire on the landscape. A healthy landscape is a resilient landscape that undergoes fire occurrences on a regular basis. After prescribed fire is completed, if a future wildfire reaches this area, the fire behavior will likely be modified to a less intense, more manageable surface fire due to the absence of accumulated debris and fuels.

Exact ignition dates for each prescribe fire operation will depend upon agency administrator approval and conditions within the ranges outlined in the project burn plan.

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

Kiowa and Rita Blanca National Grasslands

714 Main St., Clayton, NM 88415


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