National Park Service Planning Prescribed Fire at El Malpais National Monument

For Immediate Release

May 3, 2023

Contact:  Lisa Dittman, 505-285-4641 ext. 218,

Grants, NM – The National Park Service at El Malpais National Monument is preparing to conduct a prescribed fire on the north side of the monument adjacent to Highway 53 between mile marker 65 and 68. The primary objective of this prescribed fire is to improve forest health by reducing the build-up of vegetation that can fuel a wildfire. Fire plays a natural role at El Malpais and helps ensure the resiliency of this fire dependent ecosystem. 

The Lava Fields prescribed fire will treat approximately 1,000 acres of NPS lands. This operation is tentatively scheduled for the week of May 15th and fire managers expect that the operation will take four to five days to complete. Ignitions are expected to begin late morning into midday and continue into the afternoon each day. Exact dates and times can change dependent on weather and fuel conditions. Firefighters will monitor the area after ignitions are complete.

Smoke will be most visible on days when burning occurs, mostly during the warmest part of the day. With cooler temperatures in the evening, smoke may linger in low-lying areas for a few days after burn operations are complete.

The El Calderon Road (NPS 100 Road) will be closed to non-resident traffic during the ignition phase. Additionally, the Continental Divide Trail will be closed and temporarily re-routed for the days where active ignition is taking place and until it is deemed safe to re-open. If conditions warrant, a pilot car may be used along Hwy 53. Please slow down, turn your headlights on, and watch for firefighters working along the roadway when traveling in this area.

For questions about the prescribed fire call the El Malpais National Monument Visitor Center at

(505) 876-2783. Fire information will also be available on and Learn more about what’s involved in planning and implementing a prescribed fire at


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