Sunday’s conditions at the Valles Caldera National Preserve where prescrived burns may be expected between April 5 and May 31. Photo Courtesy NPS
VALLES CALDERA NATIONAL PRESERVE NEWS
The National Park Service (NPS) plans prescribed burns in the southwest corner of Valles Caldera National Preserve this spring to reduce hazardous fuels, improve wildlife habitat and create healthier forest and watershed ecosystems.
Fire managers with Valles Caldera National Preserve will take advantage of expected favorable conditions to conduct two broadcast prescribed burns. The prescribed burns planned April 5 to May 31, include 338 acres in the Southwest Banco Bonito area, directly adjacent to New Mexico State Route 4 near mile marker 30, and 153 acres in Cajete Meadow, about 3 miles northeast of Jemez Falls Campground.
A final decision to proceed with a prescribed burn depends on multiple conditions, including the national wildland fire preparedness level and resource availability, fuel moisture levels, air quality and forecasted weather.
The NPS also takes a risk-informed approach to managing prescribed fire during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prescribed fire is part of a science-based framework for managing ponderosa pine and dry mixed-conifer forests in the preserve to reduce the risk of high-severity wildfire and allow low- intensity fire to play its natural role in a frequent-fire ecosystem. Each prescribed burn is designed to meet specific objectives and will be managed with firefighter and public safety as the first priority.
The NPS manages prescribed fires in compliance with New Mexico state regulations on air quality and smoke management. 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 can be found online at the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) Environmental Public Health Tracking (EPHT) website. Information on the Forest Stewards Guild’s HEPA Filter Loan Program is available here.
Fire updates will be posted on the preserve’s website, Twitter @VallesCaldera, Facebook page and New Mexico Fire Information website. Smoke-sensitive individuals may also be added to the preserve’s notification system by contacting email@example.com or 575.829.4100, option 3.