Home News Local News Prescribed fire to occur soon near Bitter Lake

Prescribed fire to occur soon near Bitter Lake

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A prescribed burn of federal public lands has been scheduled for the Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge area starting the week of March 22, with smoke expected to be visible for several hours each day for several days.

According to a U.S. Bureau of Land Management announcement, the fire project will occur on about 2,700 acres of the refuge, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife property, and about 550 acres of BLM land.

The announcement stated the burn area is on the east side of the Pecos River, about 2 miles north of Highway 380 East.

According to the announcement, operations are planned to take several days and will produce a large, visible smoke column for several hours each day. Federal officials expect residual smoke will dissipate quickly throughout the afternoon hours.

“Wind direction and atmospheric conditions will be closely monitored to ensure there are minimal smoke impacts to the public,” the announcement stated. “The burn will be implemented under a strict set of guidelines to provide for public and firefighter safety.”

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The announcement also said that fire managers have and continue to coordinate with the New Mexico Environment Department and follow all air quality regulations.

People who are either susceptible to or affected by COVID-19 may have health conditions that also make them vulnerable to smoke exposure. More information about health protection measures is available at https://nmfireinfo.com/smoke-management/.

The purpose of this prescribed burn is to reduce the amount of grass, woody plant species or other types of vegetation or debris that could cause dangerous fires or that threaten to disrupt the diversity of habitat types.

The Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge visitor center will remain closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

For more information, contact New Mexico Zone Fire Management Officer Ken Roberts, 575-625-4013.

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