Bandelier burn continues, up to nearly 1,000 acres

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By Special to the Monitor

The prescribed burn at Bandelier is being managed to protect human life and property and the Monument’s natural and cultural resources from the potential impacts of catastrophic wildfire by safely reducing forest fuels that have accumulated over the years, officials report.The burn is expected to last approximately eight-12 days if favorable weather conditions exist. Approximately 1,500 acres may be treated. The burn will occur in sections and will only continue if the burn remains within desired parameters.Burning is now complete in the flattest portions of the unit and is progressing into the steeper canyon terrain. Burning will continue only if the appropriate conditions exist. Colder temperatures at night and shorter days create an added element of control for this fire.Crews resumed ignition of the burn unit Tuesday after two days of patroling the fire and preparing for the next phase of the operation. They began with hand ignition along State Highway 4 on the east side of the burn unit to create a buffer zone between the interior of the unit and the highway. This was followed by aerial ignition by helicopter of a small interior portion of the unit. There have been no major smoke isssues from the prescribed fire at this point, although smoke along sections of State Highway 4 has been intermittent throughout the day. Smoke will be visible from Los Alamos, White Rock, Santa Fe and other nearby communities. Bandelier remains open during the project. Travelers should watch for fire personnel working along the roadways and expect delays along State Highway 4. in the vicinity of the burn. Please drive slowly with your headlights on. The Ski Trail Area and Trailheads will be closed for an extended period because they are located within the burn unit. The Cerro Trailhead and Unit, Alamo Boundary Trail, the County Line Trail and Trailhead, and all other parking areas along Highway 4 within the Sandoval County portion of Bandelier will be closed during active burning. Hikers are encouraged to plan hikes in other areas of the park.

Resources Assigned to the Fire: Approximately 75 interagency personnel (USDA Forest Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, NM State Divison of Forestry, Los Alamos County, and Sandoval County) including a Type 1 Burn Boss, 5 engines, 1 helicopter, 2 crews, water tenders, and various support staff.