Photo Courtesy NPS
A single-tree, lightning-caused fire in upper Frijoles Canyon was reported this past Monday evening in Bandelier National Monument. The fire, the Frijoles Fire, is about five miles southwest of Los Alamos, creeping low and smoldering with flame lengths of less than a foot. The area received some rain the same evening it was reported and weather forecasts predict thundershowers by early next week.
Low intensity, naturally caused wildfires burned the forested areas of the Jemez Mountains every 7 to 15 years historically. The area around the Frijoles Fire last burned in the 2011 Las Conchas Fire. Fire Managers at Bandelier are seeing this low intensity fire as an opportunity to reduce the fine fuel and debris on the forest floor by allowing it to burn. Doing so helps restore natural conditions in this fire-dependent ecosystem.
Firefighters are monitoring the Frijoles Fire and are ready take actions as necessary for public safety.
Smoke may be visible from State Road 4 west of Los Alamos. 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 https://nmtracking.org/fire. People with health concerns can also call NMDOH at 505-827-0006 for additional information. For information on the HEPA filter loan program, visit https://facnm.org/smoke#smokeanchor5.
For more information about Bandelier National Monument, contact the Bandelier Visitor Center at 505-672-3861 x 517 or visit www.nps.gov/band, Facebook, BandelierNPS.
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