SANTA FE, NM – March 4, 2019 – For Immediate Release – Ignitions on the previously announced La Cueva prescribed burn on the Pecos/Las Vegas Ranger District of the Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) could begin as early as today. Fire managers moved the window for the La Cueva burn from February to March, and ignitions could begin as early as Wednesday, March 6, based on conditions onsite, including fuel moisture levels, air quality and weather.
The La Cueva unit is 7 miles northwest of the village of Pecos. Firefighters will use hand ignitions on piles of slash to reduce the risk of wildfire, provide community protection and improve forest health.
Prescribed fires are one of the most effective tools available to resource managers for restoring fire-adapted ecosystems like the Santa Fe National Forest. These fires mimic natural fires by reducing forest fuels, recycling nutrients and increasing habitat diversity. Prescribed fires are managed with firefighter and public safety as the first priority.
Smoke from the La Cueva prescribed burn will be monitored to ensure that the New Mexico Environment Department’s Air Quality Bureau regulations are met. Smoke may impact the communities of La Cueva, Glorieta, Canada De Los Alamos, La Joya, Apache Canyon, Pecos, Upper Pecos Canyon, Rowe, Las Vegas and Santa Fe. Smoke may be visible along the I-25 corridor and within the Santa Fe Watershed.
Smoke-sensitive individuals and people with heart or respiratory problems are encouraged to take precautionary measures. Information on air quality and protecting your health using the 5- 3-1 visibility method can be found online at the New Mexico Environment Department’s website at https://nmtracking.org/fire. For information on the HEPA filter loan program, go to http://www.santafefireshed.org/hepa-filter-loan-program.
PDF of news release.