Bandelier National Monument Plans Winter Prescribed Burn


The National Park Service plans to implement a prescribed fire in Bandelier National Monument starting as early as Thursday, February 10, 2022, continuing through until completion if conditions are favorable. The prescribed burn will occur in previously thinned areas where materials have been piled for burning. The pile burn operation is expected to take one day depending on weather and fuel conditions. 

The purpose of this burn is to reduce hazardous fuels and the chance for future high-intensity wildfires. The 289 Pile Unit is about five acres along US Forest Service (USFS) Road 289 within Bandelier near the boundary with the Santa Fe National Forest.    

 Smoke may be visible from Los Alamos, White Rock, Cochiti Mesa and Highway 4. Signs will be posted along both Highway 4  and USFS Road 289 during the burn.     

A final decision on whether to proceed with a specific prescribed burn will depend on multiple conditions, including the national wildland fire preparedness level, resource availability, fuel moisture levels, air quality and forecasted weather. The National Park Service will also 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 in the monument 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 National Park Service 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 Environmental Public Health Tracking website. Information on the Forest Stewards Guild’s HEPA Filter Loan Program is available here.