Controlled burn begins at Bandelier

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By The Staff

Bandelier National Monument plans to begin a prescribed burn in Frijoles Canyon today.

“The 210-acre Burn Unit is located around the visitor center and Main Loop Trail,” said Brad Traver, Bandelier National Monument superintendent.

 “The burn will begin by the Falls Trailhead and continue through the picnic area toward Alcove House today,” he said.

“This will result in the closure of that area and all trails in close proximity to this part of the burn. The visitor center and Main Loop Trail to Long House will remain open today.”

The burn will continue around the Main Loop Trail on Wednesday, according to an announcement by the monument, which will mean a one-day closure of Frijoles Canyon and all trails leading into it. Park visitors will be directed to other locations at the park like Tsankawi.

“Smoke conditions, permitting, the Tyonyi Overlook Trail will remain open for visitors and area residents who want to hike to a point overlooking the burn,” Traver said.

Officials hope the burn will be completed on Thursday. They plan to reopen the Main Loop Trail and to only maintain closures on the Long Trail, trail to Alcove House and above Upper Crossing.

Visitors with known sensitivities to smoke are encouraged to avoid Frijoles Canyon for one or two weeks until the smoldering logs have burned out. Daily updates will be available on the monument website, http://www.nps.gov/band/ or on the visitor center information line,  (505) 672-3861, ext. 517.

“The main objective of this burn is to reduce the threat of catastrophic wildfire by reducing fuel accumulations around the Frijoles Canyon archeological sites and CCC National Historic Landmark District buildings,” Traver said.

“The primary focus of this treatment will be to burn the dead and down fuels that have accumulated as a result of fire absence and recent pine mortality (drought & insect infestation) in this canyon,” said Bandelier Fire Management Officer Gary Kemp.

For more information regarding Bandelier’s plans prescribed fires this fall – or for information regarding other fire management projects at Bandelier – call (505)662-7065 or e-mail band_fire_comments@nps.gov.