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Santa Fe National Forest looking for opportunities to conduct Golondrino, North Aztec Springs and Joaquin North prescribed fires

Fire managers and district rangers on the Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) are looking for appropriate weather conditions to implement three prescribed fires during the Fall season.

  • The 2,227-acre Golondrino prescribed fire in the Cuba district west of the communities of Llaves and north of Gallina.
  • The 650-acre North Aztec Springs, in the Española district, east of Santa Fe, NM.
  • The 1,750-acre Joaquin North prescribed fire will be in the Jemez district North of the Community of Gilman, west of Jemez Springs and south of Rancho de Chaparral Girl Scout Camp.

The potential timing for all these prescribed fires to be safely implemented is between early September and early November. Fall has some of the best weather opportunities to implement prescribed fires as temperatures are typically cooler, humidity is higher and fire danger is lower.

We are assessing current weather conditions to make determinations on whether they are appropriate for prescribed fire activity. Individual news releases for each prescribed fire will be disseminated in advance and as fire managers and district rangers narrow down the date for ignitions for each prescribed fire based on weather conditions. If weather conditions are not appropriate (moisture, wind, humidity) the prescribed fire will be canceled.

The Golondrino and North Joaquin prescribed fires are part of the Rio Chama Collaborative Landscape Restoration Project that encompasses 3.8 million acres, spanning federal, state, tribal and private lands in New Mexico and Colorado with the aim of restoring the forested headwaters of the Rio Chama and Rio Grande rivers.

The North Aztec Springs prescribed fire is within the Santa Fe Municipal Watershed and is a continuation of prescribed fire work that has been ongoing there for over 20 years. This is a partnership effort between the SFNF and the City of Santa Fe to protect the drinking water of the City of Santa Fe.

All new prescribed fires planned and implemented on the SFNF, including the Golondrino, North Aztec Springs, and Joaquin North prescribed fires, will incorporate the guidance in the Forest Service Chief’s National Prescribed Fire Program Review, including using the most recent science and modeling, ensuring contingency resources are more readily available, integrating drought monitoring, increasing patrols, and completing a daily go/ no-go evaluation of conditions. A final decision on whether to proceed with a specific prescribed fire on the SFNF will depend on agency administrator approval, resource availability, fuel moisture levels, air quality and forecast weather. Prescribed fires are designed to meet specific objectives and are always managed with firefighter and public safety as the priority.

To learn more about what the SFNF is doing differently around prescribed fire, please see the recorded presentation “Changes to the USFS Prescribed Fire Program on the Santa Fe National Forest”, pinned to the top of the U.S. Forest Service – Santa Fe National Forest Facebook page: U.S. Forest Service-Santa Fe National Forest | Santa Fe NM | Facebook

Prescribed fires are an effective tool for restoring fire-dependent ecosystems and reducing the risk of high-severity wildfires. Fire managers use prescribed fire to improve forest health, remove hazardous fuels, increase firefighter safety, enhance wildlife habitat, and protect communities and watersheds. “Prescribed fire is crucial for our forest health but doing it safely for our surrounding communities and firefighters is the Forest’s primary concern as we evaluate weather conditions and consider implementing these prescribed fires.” said Forest Supervisor Shaun Sanchez.

The SFNF manages all prescribed fires in compliance with New Mexico state regulations on air quality and smoke management. Further details for the prescribed fires are available below:

  • There is a public meeting for the North Aztec Springs prescribed fire at the Randall Davey Audubon Center & Sanctuary 1800 Upper Canyon Rd, Santa Fe, NM 87505 Thursday, Sept. 14 at 4 p.m.
  • The public meeting for the Golondrino prescribed fire is planned for next week, however, no official date has been established. Please check our Facebook page for more information.
  • The Joaquin North community meeting has already taken place. More information can be found by visiting our Facebook page.

Plan Ahead

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 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

Fire updates will be posted on the New Mexico Fire Information website and on the Santa Fe National Forest’s Facebook and Twitter pages. For more information, contact the Cuba Ranger District (Golondrino) 575-289-3264, Espanola Ranger District (Aztec Springs) 505-753-7331, or Jemez Ranger District (Joaquin North) at 575-829-3535.

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