Loop Road Prescribed Fire Concluding Today

OHVs on the road in fire

Taos, NM (April 6, 2018) - For Immediate Release. Fire personnel made significant progress on the Loop Road prescribed fire yesterday and will continue to burn today. Firefighters waited for the winds to decrease and accomplished 4,500 acres yesterday, totaling 5,000 acres over the past three days. This is the final day of burning which will conclude this afternoon. Operations were a great success due in large part to the cooperators we had on scene including Vermejo Volunteer Fire Department (VFD), Philmont, Red River VFD, Santa Fe National Forest and a NM State Forestry engine and overhead.

Mostly moderate fire behavior was observed that burned the understory including grass, small trees and shrubs. Some group tree torching occurred which will create openings in the canopy where trees are dense and overcrowded. This is a desired effect because it will form meadows where grasses and forbs will return benefitting wildlife and livestock, in addition to the reintroduction of aspen. This application of different fire intensities results in a diverse landscape that is more resistant to disease, reduces invasive species and reduces the risk of uncharacteristic high intensity fire.

Overnight patrols indicated that the fire remained within the set boundary and no active fire was observed near the edge of the burn unit along the loop road. Patrols will continue this weekend and into early next week to ensure any remaining fire does not cross over the containment line.  Once burning concludes today it will be likely to see vegetation continuing to smolder within the interior of the area producing some smoke, but significantly less smoke than the past few days.

For the duration of the prescribed fire, Forest Roads 1910 and 1914 are closed. Forest Road 1950 will be closed to traffic while burning is taking place near the road or while aerial ignitions are occurring near the road.

Smoke may be visible from the following areas: State Highway 522, Costilla, Amalia, Cimarron, Raton and most communities in the Northeast portion of the state. The following communities could be impacted by smoke: Raton, Questa, Cimarron, Red River, and possibly Angel Fire depending on the wind. Smoke-sensitive individuals and people with respiratory 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’s website at https://nmtracking.org/fire.

For additional information about the Loop Road prescribed fire, contact the Questa Ranger District at 575-586-0520.

Blackened ground in the trees