TAOS, N.M. (KRQE) – Carson National Forest fire staff are preparing for prescribed burns near the communities of Ojo Sarco and Canjilon. The U.S. Forest Service said burns could begin as soon as March 7, if conditions allow.

The prescribed burns are part of an effort to increase forest health and prevent wildfires from spreading.

“I’m eager to see these piles addressed before the spring, so they do not add to any fire danger over the upcoming fire season,” said Camino Real District Ranger Michael Lujan. “Getting to this point has been a long journey, but we couldn’t do it without the support of the public and partner organizations.” 

Ojo Sarco Prescribed Burn

Burning of debris piles outside Ojo Sarco, New Mexico, could begin March 7 if conditions are suitable. The debris piles are a result of 137 acres of thinning and run south of Ojo Sarco along State Highway 76.

Canjilon Piles Prescribed Burn

Burning of debris piles to the north of Canjilon, New Mexico, will begin later this year. The piles, which consist of 53 acres of thinning debris, are located on U.S. Forest Service land that borders private properties.

“We’re not alone in this effort,” said Angie Krall, the acting district ranger for the Canjilon Ranger District. “Fire knows no boundaries and private land owners have been pivotal in thinning and conducting their own fuels reduction treatments.” 

A recent prescribed burn in the Carson Nation Forest, the 2023 Willow Piles Prescribed Fire, was completed this week. In that project, crew members burned debris piles from 421 acres of forest thinning.

“Our first project using the requirements and recommendations from the national review was a success,” said Forest Supervisor James Duran. “Nonetheless, we will still move forward thoughtfully as we re-engage communities and partners in different parts of the Forest.”