Wildland firefighters with the Carson National Forest will conduct two prescribed burns during the month of October, seizing on favorable weather conditions to protect homes and improve ecological health in two parts of the forest.
One prescribed burn will focus on slash piles in four areas around Taos Ski Valley. These burns will include 1 acre near the Deer parking area, a 5-acre plot near Spencer’s area, a 15-acre unit in the Wild West Glade and a 25-acre area at the Ernie’s and North American ski runs.
Smoke from these burns may be visible from Taos Ski Valley, State Road 150, Arroyo Seco, Arroyo Hondo, Red River and Taos.
A “broadcast burn” of 165 acres will happen at Borrego Mesa, located 3 miles west of State Road 518 and one-half of a mile north of State Road 75 in the Camino Real District.
Smoke from this burn may be visible from State Roads 518 and 75, Peñasco, Vadito, Ojo Sarco, El Valle, Chamisal, Tres Ritos, Sipapu, Picuris Pueblo and Río Lucio.
“Fall provides more ideal conditions to do prescribed burns,” said Carson National Forest spokesperson Denise Ottaviano. For one, more local wildland firefighters are on hand during the autumn. Furthermore, “It’s just too dangerous for us to burn when it’s hot and dry,” Ottaviano said.
“There’s better ventilation in the fall, so less smoke settles in the communities, and the weather conditions are just more appropriate,” Ottaviano said.
Prescribed fires are one of the most effective tools for restoring fire-adapted ecosystems, as they mimic natural fires by reducing excess of dry, fire-enhancing wood and debris, recycling nutrients into the ecosystem and diversifying habitat for wildlife.
Forest managers could also move forward with two other prescribed burns in the Carson National Forest before the end of the year, Ottaviano said.
To ensure that the New Mexico Environment Department’s Air Quality Bureau regulations are being met, the Forest Service will monitor smoke from the prescribed burns.
Smoke-sensitive individuals and people with respiratory or heart diseases 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 nmtracking.org/fire.
For additional information about the Borrego Mesa prescribed fire, contact the Camino Real Ranger District at (575) 587-2255. For additional information about the Taos Ski Valley prescribed fire, contact the Questa Ranger District at (575) 586-0520.