Fire managers in the Mountainair Ranger District are planning to conduct two prescribed burns in the Manzano Mountains. Meanwhile in the Sandia Ranger District, another prescribed burn is due to start this week.

According to the Forest Service, fire managers have been closely monitoring fuel moistures and decided conditions are now conducive to successful burns. If conditions are suitable, fire crews will be burning 166 acres south of the Thunderbird private property just south of Forest Road 275. This is the first of two planned burns in the Manzanos.

The second burn is approximately 600 acres east of the Thunderbird private property, on the north side of FR275. This area has been previously thinned so fire personnel will now be entering the area to burn excess material left behind after the thinning operation.

The first burn date in the Manzanos is tentatively scheduled to begin the week of Sept. 24 but may be conducted at any point within the next month as conditions allow. Fire managers will be evaluating resource availability and closely watching weather patterns and fuel moistures to determine the best time to implement the burns. When ignited, fire crews will monitor the burn for as long as necessary.

In the Sandias, up to 600 acres in the David Canyon prescribed fire will be treated as conditions allow, the Forest Service said.

As with most of the burns by the Forest Service, the goal of this project is to improve watershed and wildlife biodiversity, and to help protect private property in the event of a wildfire by reducing fuel loading (amount of fuel available to burn). Our ecosystem depends on fire to promote new vegetation, enhance habitat and reduce the threat of large fire. It also improves public and firefighter safety by reducing the accumulated fuels that could otherwise contribute to more intense fire behavior under hotter and drier conditions.

During the prescribed burn, Forest Service roads directly affected by the burn may be closed to the public. Signs will be posted in any areas with temporary road closures.

Temporary road signs warning about smoke and activity on the roads will be posted on State Highways 131 and 55 along with Forest Roads 422, 253 and 275.

Smoke may be noticeable throughout any of the local mountain communities and will include the Estancia Valley and the west side of the Manzano Mountains. Smoke may be seen as far north as Highways 217 and 337 in the Tijeras area.

Firefighters will make every attempt to burn during times of the day when ventilation is optimal. Additional fire vehicles will be in the area patrolling and monitoring the roads.

Leota Harriman
Leota Harriman

Leota started working for The Independent in 2006, working her way up through the ranks. An employee buyout in 2010 led to her ownership of the newspaper. Leota has served on the board of the N.M. Press Association, and is currently its First Vice President. She is passionate about health and wellness, especially mental health, and loves making art. She can be reached at news.ind.editor@gmail.com.