By NM Parks
Fire managers on the Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) are looking at a potential window this week to implement the previously announced Hyde Park and Thompson Ridge prescribed pile burns to reduce the risk of wildfire.
The 132-acre Hyde Park pile burn near Black Canyon Campground on the Española Ranger District is designed to remove woody debris from a previously thinned area within the footprint of the Greater Santa Fe Fireshed. The 1-acre Thompson Ridge slash pit prescribed burn is a collaborative effort between the Jemez Ranger District and the surrounding area to promote fire-adapted communities in the wildland-urban interface (WUI) by giving local residents a centralized location to discard fuels, such as leaves, pine needles, grass and other yard trimmings, removed from their properties.
Each prescribed burn is designed to meet specific objectives and will be managed with firefighter and public safety as the first priority. Crews could implement the Thompson Ridge burn as early as tomorrow and the Hyde Park pile burn as early as Thursday.
Winter is an optimal time to burn slash piles because snow on the ground keeps the fire from spreading to adjacent vegetation. Generally, pile burns produce less smoke and burn with less intensity than broadcast burns across a larger landscape. Fire managers will implement the pile burns only if conditions, including fuel moisture levels, air quality and forecasted weather, are favorable for successful implementation.
The SFNF manages prescribed fires in compliance with New Mexico state regulations on air quality and smoke management. Smoke from the Thompson Ridge slash pit at the end of Forest Road 106 just north of the community of Thompson Ridge may be visible from Jemez Springs, Jemez Pueblo, Gilman, La Cueva, Los Alamos, NM Highway 4 and US Route 550. Smoke from the Hyde Park piles south of NM Highway 475 and west of Black Canyon Campground may be visible from Santa Fe, Tesuque, Nambe, Los Alamos and Pojoaque as well as the I-25 and US 285/84 corridors.
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 (NMDOH)Environmental Public Health Tracking (EPHT) website. Information on the Forest Stewards Guild’s HEPA Filter Loan Program is available here.
For more information on the Thompson Ridge slash pit burn, contact the Jemez Ranger District at 575-829-3535. For information on the Hyde Park pile burn, contact the Española Ranger District at 505-753-7331.