TAOS, N.M. (KRQE) – Fire officials on the Carson National Forest announced Thursday that they are planning to take advantage of favorable weather conditions to implement three prescribed burns between September 23 and October 31.
According to a news release, the Ensenada is a 1,243-acre broadcast burn, located in the Quartzsite Peak area on FS road 42E, five-miles north of Canon Plaza. The objectives are to improve wildlife habitat by promoting Aspen regeneration, as well as quality and quantity of grasses and forbs, and to decrease tree encroachment within meadow areas. They also say ignitions may take two-to-five days to complete.
Fire officials say the Canjilon WUI – Mesita is a 902-acre broadcast burn, located on Forest Service road 559F, one-mile west of Canjilon. The objectives are to increase grass, forbs, and shrub diversity for wildlife and livestock, as well as reduce surface fuels created by thinning and fuelwood sales to reduce the threat of sustained crown fire in the proximity of the Canjilon and Placita Garcia area. They also say ignitions may take two-to-five days to complete.
Lastly, fire officials say the Valle Vidal – Ring unit is a 4,968-acre broadcast burn, located one-mile west of McCrystal Campground on Forest Road 1950, 16-miles North of Ute Park, and 15-miles east of Questa. The objectives include returning fire to the landscape in order to improve wildlife and livestock forage production, reduce meadow encroachment. Ignitions may take up to seven days to complete.
According to the same news release, the high priority of the prescribed burns will be to minimize smoke impacts to the surrounding communities. They will consult with the National Weather Service, New Mexico Environment Dept of Air Quality, and the local Health Departments to assess potential smoke impacts to surrounding communities in order to minimize degradation of air quality that could worsen COVID-19 symptoms. Fire officials say smoke may be visible from the surrounding areas during and after ignitions begin.