SFNF EspaƱola District Plans Prescribed Burn in Pacheco Canyon

Release Date: Mar 31, 2021

Contact(s): Julie Anne Overton

SANTA FE, NM – March 31, 2021 – Fire managers on the Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) hope to take advantage of favorable conditions, including snow on the north-facing slopes, to implement the previously announced Pacheco Canyon prescribed burn on the Española Ranger District as early as Saturday.

The 550-acre prescribed burn is part of the larger Pacheco Canyon Forest Resiliency Project, a 2,042-acre forest restoration project that was instrumental in keeping the lightning-caused Medio Fire from crossing Forest Road (FR) 102 and threatening significant values at risk, including the Santa Fe ski basin and municipal watershed. The Pacheco Canyon treatment area along FR 102 helped firefighters contain the 2020 Medio Fire, at approximately 4,000 acres.

Each prescribed burn is designed to meet specific objectives and will be managed with firefighter and public safety as the first priority. The Pacheco Canyon prescribed burn, approximately 6 miles east of Tesuque Pueblo and 3 miles west of Ski Santa Fe, will protect communities by reducing the accumulation of hazardous fuels and decreasing the potential for severe wildfire.

The decision to proceed will depend on favorable conditions, including snowpack, fuel moisture levels, air quality, ventilation, wind direction and weather forecasts. Ignitions are expected to take one day.

Partners participating in  the Pacheco Canyon project include the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, Tesuque Pueblo, Santa Fe County Fire Department, Los Alamos County Fire Department and City of Santa Fe Fire Department.

Smoke management is a key part of the planning and implementation of prescribed burns. The SFNF manages prescribed fires in compliance with New Mexico state regulations on air quality and smoke management. Smoke from the Pacheco Canyon prescribed burn may be visible in Santa Fe, Tesuque, Nambe, Los Alamos and Pojoaque as well as the I-25 and US 285/84 corridors for a day or two after the burn.

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 (NMDOH) Environmental Public Health Tracking (EPHT) website. Information on the Forest Stewards Guild’s HEPA Filter Loan Program is available here.

The Pacheco Canyon project is part of the Greater Santa Fe Fireshed, a collaborative effort focused on making the forested areas within a 107,000-acre perimeter surrounding Santa Fe more resilient to wildfire, insects and disease, drought and climate change.

Fire updates will be posted on the SFNF website, New Mexico Fire Information website and on the Santa Fe National Forest Facebook page and Twitter @SantafeNF.

For more information on the Pacheco Canyon pile burn, contact the Española Ranger District at 505-753-7331.

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