BLM Rio Puerco Field Office implements Chain of Craters prescribed fire  

As weather conditions allow, beginning (UPDATED) now through June 2, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will conduct the Chain of Craters prescribed fire. The BLM began this prescribed fire on May 12, 2023, but has been unable to complete operations due to unfavorable weather conditions. The Chain of Craters prescribed fire project location is south of State Highway 53 and west of County Road 42, approximately 35 miles southwest of Grants, in Cibola County.   

Over the last several years, the BLM has treated over 20,000 acres in the Chain of Craters landscape using prescribed fire and thinning. Fire managers estimate it will take five to seven days to complete burn operations; however, smoke may be visible during and for several days following the burns. BLM will continue to monitor the project post-implementation to help ensure the fire stays within the planned burn area.   

The project area is approximately 2,500 acres of ponderosa pine, piñon and juniper trees and will be conducted in several phases. The goal is to reduce the density and hazardous accumulations of vegetation that, under the right conditions, could contribute to high intensity fire. Coordination has occurred and will continue with the National Park Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, New Mexico Air Quality Bureau, Ramah Medical Facility, and local grazing permittees. To notify the public during the burn, signs will be posted along County Road 42 and at the Continental Divide Trailhead. Smoke may be visible from State Highways 53 and 117.  

Our managers carefully develop burn plans for implementation of each prescribed fire 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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