SANTA FE, NM – February 24, 2021 – Fire safety managers in the Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) plan to use favorable conditions such as fuel humidity, air quality, wind direction, and weather forecasts to conduct a mandatory burn on Cat Mesa in the Jemez Ranger District starting Friday, May 12 . March.
Crews look at a window between mid-March and early April to treat about 600 acres off Forest Road 135 about 2.5 miles east / northeast of Jemez Springs. Prescribed fires are always treated with firefighter and public safety as a top priority.
Cat Mesa mandated combustion reduces fuel, restores wildlife, and improves forest health. Mandatory fire is a powerful tool in restoring fire-adapted ecosystems like the SFNF by applying low to medium intensity fire to the landscape under certain conditions within predetermined limits. Areas treated with mandatory fire can have a positive impact on future forest fires by reducing fire intensity and adverse smoke effects and increasing the safety margin for firefighters.
Smoke management is an essential part of planning and carrying out mandatory burns. The SFNF manages mandatory fires in accordance with New Mexico state regulations on air quality and smoke management. Smoke from Cat Mesa mandated incineration can impact the communities of Canon, Jemez Pueblo, Jemez Springs, Sierra Los Pinos, La Cueva, and Ponderosa. Smoke can also be visible from US Route 550 and I-25.
People who are sensitive to smoke and those with breathing problems or heart conditions are encouraged to take precautions. Information about air quality and protecting your health can be found online on the EPHT (Environmental Public Health Tracking) website of the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH). Information on the Forest Stewards Guild’s HEPA filter loan program can be found here.
Fire updates will be posted on the SFNF website, the New Mexico Fire Information website, the Santa Fe National Forest Facebook page and Twitter @SantafeNF.
For more information on Cat Mesa mandated incineration, contact the Jemez Ranger Station at 575-829-3535.
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