Truth or Consequences, NM, May 2, 2019—For Immediate Release. The Black Range Ranger District is prepared and ready to implement the Indian Peaks Prescribed Fire Project beginning Saturday, May 11, conditions permitting. The estimated project size is 9,400 acres on National Forest System lands, and an additional 600 acres of New Mexico State Trust Lands and private property inholdings. The district is closely monitoring onsite fuel conditions and forecasted weather. This project area includes portions of Mule, Bear and Kennedy canyons located northeast of Beaverhead Work Center. Impacted Forest Roads (FR) include FR 14, FR 520 and FR 955. New Mexico State Highway 59 and 163 may be impacted by smoke and fire personnel traffic to and from the project.
Objectives for the Indian Peaks Prescribed Burn include:
- Introduced and maintaining fire across 50-80% of the landscape within the next decade.
- Reducing natural and activity fuel accumulations.
- Introducing and maintaining fire back into a fire dependent ecosystem.
The project boundaries have been prepared by limbing and brushing existing roads, and placing control lines.
Prescribed fires are one of the most effective tools available to resource managers. These fires mimic natural fires by reducing forest fuels, recycling nutrients, and increasing habitat diversity. Prescribed burns are designed to meet specific objectives, including providing community protection and promoting forest health. Prescribed burns are always managed with firefighter and public safety as the first priority.
Duration of smoke production is hard to predict, but high density smoke should dissipate out within one to two days after active ignitions cease. Smoke will settle in drainages and valley bottoms during the evening and early morning hours. There is the possibility for the communities of Winston, Monticello, Dusty and the Middle Rio Grande Valley to experience smoke impacts. Smoke from the prescribed burn will be monitored on site, as well as by an electronic smoke monitoring device in Winston, to ensure that the New Mexico Environment Department’s Air Quality Bureau regulations are being met. Smoke-sensitive individuals and those with respiratory or heart disease should take precautionary measures. Air quality information and health protection measures are posted online at the New Mexico Department of Health’s website: https://nmtracking.org/fire.
For information on the Gila National Forest, check out our website at http://www.fs.usda.gov/gila