By Santa Fe National Forest
Due to conditions, to include fuel moisture levels, air quality and weather forecasts, fire managers on the Pecos/Las Vegas Ranger District of the Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) expect to resume ignitions on the East Rowe Mesa prescribed burn area this week.
The treatment is designed to improve wildlife habitat and promote forest health. As weather conditions permit, the East Rowe Mesa prescribed burn could continue into April.
Between March 7 and March 9 last week, fire crews met objectives by treating approximately 4,450 acres. This week, about 300 acres of the 22,000-acre project area are expected to be treated in the East Rowe Mesa area by hand ignitions. The prescribed burn area is located south of I-25 and about 10 miles south of the town of Pecos, NM. Smoke may be visible to outlying communities along the I-25 corridor between Santa Fe and Las Vegas. Smoke is expected to settle into lower elevations and in drainage areas during the evenings, but should lift by mid-morning.
Prescribed burns are one of the most effective tools available to resource managers for restoring fire-adapted ecosystems. The burns mimic natural fires by reducing forest fuels, recycling nutrients and increasing habitat diversity. The East Rowe Mesa prescribed burn will specifically improve wildlife habitat and promote forest health, for instance, retain older Ponderosa Pines stands. Prescribed burns are managed with firefighter and public safety as the first priority.
Smoke from the prescribed burn will be monitored to ensure that the New Mexico Environment Department’s Air Quality Bureau regulations are met. Smoke-sensitive individuals and people with respiratory problems or heart disease are encouraged to take precautionary measures. Information on air quality and protecting your health can be found online at the New Mexico Department of Health’s website at https://nmtracking.org/fire. Prescribed fire updates can also be tracked at https://nmfireinfo.com.
For additional information about the prescribed burn, please contact the Pecos/Las Vegas Ranger District at (505) 757-6121.