Prescribed burns cast smoky pall over area

(Provided photo)
Several prescribed burn projects in the Carson National Forest ha ve severely affected air quality in Angel Fire, Eagle Nest, Red River and other areas throughout the Enchanted Circle.

Burns will be taking place in the Camino Real Ranger District: Borrego Mesa 3 miles north of Peñasco, and Taos Pines and Bull Springs, off Hwy 64 at Palo Flechado Pass; the El Rito Ranger District of the Carson National Forest; along Highway 84 in the Canjilon Ranger District 3 ½ miles northwest of Canjilon

Press releases noted smoke from the fires may be visible throughout the Enchanted Circle, south into Peñasco, Española and Abiquiu, and in Tres Piedras. Smoke may settle into lower elevations and drainages overnight but should lift by mid-morning.

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 nmtracking.org/fire.

The USDA Forest Service, The Nature Conservancy’s Rio Grande Water Fund and the Forest Stewards Guild are working together to increase the use of prescribed fire to protect water sources, wildlife, and forests while reducing wildfire risk. The All Hands All Lands Burn Team (Burn Team) is unique in that it is designed to stand-up a fully qualified team to lead prescribed burns or support others in burning across a variety of land jurisdictions.

These prescribed fires will help reduce fuels created from previous thinning and associated fuelwood removal activities and help restore fire-adapted ecosystems. Prescribed fire mimics natural fires by reducing accumulations of hazard fuels, recycling nutrients and increasing habitat diversity. They are managed with firefighter and public safety as the first priority.

As the lead coordinator, the Forest Stewards Guild will mobilize the Burn Team for prescribed burns this fall, winter, and in the spring of 2019. Burns are being planned in the Rio Grande Water Fund project area, a unique collaborative with over 70 signatories. Learn more at riograndewaterfund.org.

“This Burn Team is a culmination of work and partnerships that began over ten years ago to improve forest health, protect nearby communities from wildfire, and to protect watersheds.” notes Forest Stewards Guild Southwest Director Eytan Krasilovsky. “We have excellent collaborative restoration partners that are once again coming together to learn and burn together.”

Stay up-to-date on these efforts by visiting https://facnm.org/our-projects/all-hands-all-lands-burn-team.  For more information call/text 505-470-0185.