North Aztec Springs prescribed fire

Release Date: 

Contact(s): Virginia Gibbons, (505)438-5320

SANTA FE, NM –Oct. 4, 2023 – Fire crews are preparing for the 650-acre North Aztec Springs burn on the Espanola Ranger District. The district plans to start the burn sometime after the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, which ends on October 15.  

Crews from the Santa Fe National Forest and the City of Santa Fe are currently working on containment lines in preparation for the burn.  

The unit is located at the northwest corner of the Santa Fe Municipal Watershed adjacent to the communities of Hyde Park Estates, Paseo Segundo, High Summit, Los Cerros Colorados, Cerro Gordo and Upper Canyon.  The unit is just north of the 350-acre South Aztec Springs unit that was accomplished in the fall of 2021.  

Fire management officials are monitoring fuels conditions on site and will be working with the National Weather Service, the New Mexico Environment Department Air Quality Bureau and local officials to find an optimal window of opportunity to complete this burn while minimizing smoke impacts to nearby communities.  

All new prescribed fires planned and implemented on the SFNF, including the North Aztec Springs, will incorporate the guidance in the Forest Service Chief’s National Prescribed Fire Program Review, including using the most recent science and modeling, ensuring contingency resources are more readily available, integrating drought monitoring, increasing patrols, and completing a daily go/no-go evaluation of conditions. A final decision on whether to proceed with a specific prescribed fire on the SFNF will depend on leadership approval, resource availability, fuel moisture levels, air quality and forecast weather. Prescribed fires are designed to meet specific objectives and are always managed with firefighter and public safety as the priority.

Our land management strategy is centered on long-term forest health, including reducing forest fuels and using prescribed fire on the landscape. This prescribed fire aligns with the Forest Service’s 10-year Wildfire Crisis strategy which aims to increase the use of fire on the landscape as well as other treatments to improve forest resiliency for generations to come.