Santa Fe watershed prescribed burn planned for Monday

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By The Staff


Fire managers on the Santa Fe National Forest plan to take advantage of favorable conditions, including fuel moisture levels, air quality and winds and weather forecasts to conduct a two-day prescribed burn in the Santa Fe Watershed.  Possibly starting Monday.  

The 755-acre treatment area is approximately three miles east of the City of Santa Fe on the south end between Nichols and McClure Reservoirs. Impacts from the hand and aerial ignitions are expected to be minimal due to this being a second entry prescribed burn into this particular area.

Historically, low- to moderate-intensity wildfires burned through southwestern dry conifer forests like the SFNF every seven to 15 years on average as part of a natural cycle that removed leaf litter, eradicated disease and thinned the understory, making room for new growth. 

The Santa Fe Watershed prescribed burn is specifically designed to improve and protect the 17,384-acre watershed, which provides 40 percent of the water to the City of Santa Fe by removing dead forest fuels and reducing the risk of high-intensity wildfire. Prescribed fires are managed with firefighter and public safety as the first priority. 

Due to the Watershed’s proximity to the city and the terrain that tends to direct smoke toward Santa Fe, prescribed burns within its boundaries may impact populated areas. 

Smoke will likely be visible from Santa Fe, Tesuque, Glorieta, Pecos Canyon, El Dorado and I-25. Smoke may settle into lower elevations and drainages overnight, but should lift by midmorning.  Lingering smoke may be present for up to one week after ignitions are complete. 

Smoke-sensitive individuals and people with respiratory or heart disease are encouraged to take precautionary measures. Information on air quality and protecting your health can be found online at the NMDOH website at nmtracking.org/fire.

For more information about this prescribed burn, please contact the Española Ranger Station at 753-7331.