MAGDALENA, NM – JUNE 11, 2014 - The Cibola National Forest and Grasslands’ Magdalena Ranger District is planning a prescribed burn to benefit wildlife habitat and to prevent the threat of potential wildfire. The 1,700 to 2,000 acre burn is located in the Gallinas Mountains, approximately 13 miles northwest of Magdalena, New Mexico.
The burn will begin the week of June 16, 2014 and will continue until completed, depending on weather and vegetation conditions. The objective of this burn is to reduce existing vegetation and brush to prevent the threat of potential wildfire, restore the natural fire regime and enhance wildlife habitat. The dominate vegetation in the area is piñon/juniper and light to moderate grass cover.
Although the Gallinas Mountains are in Stage I Fire Restrictions, current weather and vegetation conditions has opened a window for the District to conduct the prescribed fire in a safe manner to achieve resource objectives to help prevent unwanted wildfire.
Prior to igniting the burn, the Magdalena Ranger District will ensure that there is a favorable weather forecast and that the required personnel and equipment are on hand. Fire management crews will monitor the burn for as long as necessary to ensure public safety. The ignition will include the use of a Helitorch -- a specialized drip torch hung from, or mounted on a helicopter – to ignite the burn area. It is used in forest and range fire management operations, and in prescribed burn operations.
During these prescribed burns, there may be delays when traveling on Forest Roads 10, 10D, 10E and 128A. There will also be additional fire vehicles patrolling and monitoring the area. Smoke will be visible along US Highway 60 and US Highway 169 during the burn. Please drive carefully when on these roads, as visibility might be lower due to smoke. Use caution and drive with your headlights on.