Valles Caldera National Preserve Plans Fall Prescribed Burn

Valles Caldera National Preserve is planning an prescribed burn between Oct. 11 and Nov. 30. Photo Courtesy NPS


The National Park Service (NPS) is planning a prescribed fire in the southwest corner of Valles Caldera National Preserve later this fall to reduce hazardous fuels, improve wildlife habitat, and create healthier and more resilient ecosystems. Fire managers with the preserve aim to take advantage of expected favorable conditions, including fuel moisture levels, air quality, and forecasted weather.

The prescribed burn, planned between October 11 and November 30, 2021, includes 338 acres in the Southwest Banco Bonito area, adjacent to New Mexico State Route 4 near mile marker 30. A final decision on whether to proceed with a specific prescribed burn depends on multiple factors, including the national wildland fire preparedness level, resource availability, fuel moisture levels, air quality, and forecasted weather. The NPS also will take 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 to reduce the risk of high severity wildfire and allow low intensity fire to play its natural and beneficial role in this frequent-fire ecosystem. Each prescribed burn is designed to meet specific objectives and will be managed with firefighter and public safety as the highest 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 at the New Mexico Department of Health Environmental Public Health Tracking website ( Information on the Forest Stewards Guild’s HEPA Filter Loan Program is available at: All fire updates will be posted on the preserve’s website (, Twitter (@VallesCaldera), Facebook ( and New Mexico Fire Information website ( Smoke-sensitive individuals may also be added to the preserve’s notification system by contacting or 575-829-4100, ext. 3.