Fire managers on the Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) plan to implement the previously announced prescribed burn in the Santa Fe Municipal Watershed as early as Monday, Sept. 23, if conditions, including fuel moisture levels, air quality, wind direction and weather forecasts, remain favorable.
Up to 350 acres north of Nichols Reservoir near Granite Point in the lower Watershed will be treated with hand and aerial ignitions. The burn will be completed in one day.
The Santa Fe Watershed prescribed burn is specifically designed to improve and protect the 17,384-acre Municipal Watershed, which provides more than 40% of the water for the City of Santa Fe, by removing dead forest fuels and reducing the risk of high-intensity wildfire. Prescribed fire is always managed with firefighter and public safety as the first priority.
Due to the Watershed’s proximity to the city and terrain that tends to direct smoke toward Santa Fe, prescribed burns within its boundaries may impact populated areas. The SFNF works with the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) and the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) to monitor air quality during a planned ignition and limit the severity of smoke impacts.
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 problems or heart disease are encouraged to take precautionary measures. Information on air quality and protecting your health by using the 5-3-1 visibility method can be found online at the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) Environmental Public Health Tracking (EPHT) website at https://nmtracking.org/fire. People with health concerns can also call NMDOH at 505-827-0006 for additional information. For information on the HEPA filter loan program, go to https://facnm.org/smoke#smokeanchor5.
Fire updates are posted on the New Mexico Fire Information website at www.nmfireinfo.com, www.facebook.com/SantaFeNF and Twitter @SantafeNF. For more information, contact the Española Ranger Station at (505) 753-7331.