At the far northern edge of the state, fire manager with the Carson National Forest are taking a perfect window of weather to return low-intensity fire to about 9 square miles in the Valle Vidal unit …
At the far northern edge of the state, fire manager with the Carson National Forest are taking a perfect window of weather to return low-intensity fire to about 9 square miles in the Valle Vidal unit of the forest.
The Carson is proceeding today (April 5) with the burn of 6,000 acres.
Carson fire personnel conducted a successful test burn in the Valle Vidal Tuesday (April 3). And over the past two days a total of 465 acres have been burned, or "blacklined," primarily along the edge of Forest Road 1950, according to Carson spokesperson Denise Ottaviano.
Winds were too strong to burn Wednesday, but said conditions were "much more favorable" for prescribed burning Thursday, Ottaviano said.
"After evaluating on-site conditions and predicted weather, the decision was made to start aerial ignition using a helicopter and hand ignition on the ground," she said.
Though most of New Mexico is experiencing drought conditions, with little snow in the mountains and no significant rain yet this spring, Ottaviano said, "We now have the…opportunity to conduct this prescribed fire in order to accomplish our objectives of enhancing wildlife habitat and improving timber stand health. If conditions change to where we are not within our prescription, we will decide to not burn or stop burning if we have already started."
While thousands of acres could be treated using a combination of hand tools, such as drip torches, and airplanes, "not every inch of that area will be treated with fire," she said.
While most of the areas within the planned burn area of the Valle Vidal are expected to see low-to-moderate severity fires of the intensity that's a natural part of the fire regimen in this part of the Rocky Mountains, "a few small areas could encounter high-intensity fire that creates openings and kills invasive species."
The area is completely surrounded by Forest Roads 1950, 1910 and 1914, which creates a fire break. To fortify that fire break, vegetation has been removed and burned on the side of the roads. Some firefighters will stay on-site to monitor conditions during the night. For the duration of the prescribed fire, Forest Roads 1910 and 1914 are closed. Forest Road 1950 will be closed to traffic while burning is taking place near the road or while aerial ignitions are occurring near the road.
Smoke from the fire may be visible from State Road 522, Costilla, Amalia, Cimarron, Raton and most communities in the northeast portion of the state. Questa, Red River and possibly Angel Fire could be impacted by smoke, depending on the wind.
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