TORRANCE COUNTY, N.M. (KRQE) – The Capilla prescribed fire is planned to start, pending weather. It’s planned for the Mountainair Ranger District in the Cibola National Forest and National Grasslands.

Around 616 acres are to be burned 6 miles northwest of Mountainair in the Manzano Mountains. Smoke might be seen in Mountainair, Punta de Agua, Manzano, Torreon, and Estancia Valley.

The Red Canyon, Spruce Spring, New Canyon, and Crest trails may be impacted. Authorities think the burn may start as soon as October 16.

Photo provided by US Forest Service

In a release, the Forest Service said, “Our land management strategy is centered on long-term forest health, including reducing forest fuels and using prescribed fire on the landscape. Prescribed fires are intended to reduce hazardous fuels accumulated due to drought, climate change, insects and disease, and decades of fire suppression. Additionally, fire managers use prescribed fire to improve forest health, remove hazardous fuels, increase firefighter safety, enhance wildlife habitat, and protect communities and watersheds. Prescribed burns are designed to meet specific objectives and are always managed with firefighter and public safety as the priority.”