BLM Conducts Mesa Chivato Prescribed Fire (update)

As weather conditions allow, beginning (UPDATED) now through May 19, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will conduct the Mesa Chivato prescribed fire.

Over the last several years, the BLM has treated more than 11,000 acres on Mesa Chivato using prescribed fire and thinning. Fire managers estimate it will take five to seven days to complete burn operations; however, smoke may be visible from Hwy 550 during and for several days following the burn. To notify the public during the burn, signs will be posted along Hwy 550 and BLM Road 1103. BLM will continue to monitor the project post-implementation to help ensure the fire stays within the planned burn area.

The Mesa Chivato prescribed fire will be within the Ignacio Chavez and Chamisa Wilderness Study Areas, west of Highway 550 and 15 miles southwest of San Luis, in Sandoval and McKinley counties. The project is part of a multi-year forest restoration initiative to improve the ecological health of ponderosa pine forests and open grassy meadows that have become dominated by piñon and juniper trees and dense stands of ponderosa pine. In cooperation with the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, this project targets approximately 2,500 acres of slash and debris created from previous thinning treatments.

Coordination has occurred and will continue with staff at the Cibola National Forest, the New Mexico Air Quality Bureau, New Mexico Department of Game and Fish and local grazing permittees. These efforts support the goals of the National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy, which emphasizes an “all-hands, all-lands” approach to managing wildland fire through community engagement and partnerships.

Fire managers have prepared implementation plans for the prescribed burn to ensure they meet land management objectives and that fire can be safely and effectively managed. If conditions move outside the predetermined parameters, ignitions will be conducted a different day when conditions improve. Reducing the volume of vegetation under prescribed conditions enables land managers to mimic the natural fire cycle, thus minimizing the dangers and risks associated with unplanned wildfires. 

Before and during all prescribed fires, fire managers coordinate with the New Mexico Environment Department and follow all air quality regulations. People susceptible to or affected by COVID-19 may have health conditions that make them vulnerable to smoke exposure. For more information about risks and protecting your health, please visit

For questions about this project, contact the BLM Rio Puerco Field Office at (505) 761-8700. For details about the implementation of the project, visit; Twitter @nmfireinfo, or

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