Regional
12:03 pm
Mon January 31, 2011

Prescribed Burns Planned For Las Cruces

Las Cruces – The Las Cruces District Office of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) plans to conduct two prescribed burns during the week of February 7th.

The Dripping Springs prescribed fire project is located about 12 miles east of Las Cruces and firefighters will need only one day
to treat the fuels within the 40-acre project area. The planned date of
ignition is Wednesday, February 9th. The goal of the project is to reduce
fuel loading, consisting mostly of grass and shrubs, and to create a safety
zone along the popular Dripping Springs Trail, within the Dripping Springs
Natural Resource Area (DSNA). Highly trained BLM personnel from fire and
resource management programs, along with other firefighting personnel from
neighboring agencies, will be on site to carry out the burn. Approximately
40 acres will be treated with prescribed fire. The upper portion of the
DSNA, which includes the Visitor's Center and the Dripping Springs Trail,
will be CLOSED to the public on February 8, 9, and 10, in order to ensure
that public and firefighter safety remains a top priority.

On Thursday, February 10th , firefighting resources will report to the site
of the Centennial prescribed fire project, located within McGregor Range on
Ft. Bliss and BLM lands atop Otero Mesa, to treat about 150 acres of grass
and shrubs. Several years ago, a plan was devised to address concerns
associated with the potential of a wildfire spreading from the Centennial
Bombing Range onto public lands. An effective approach for mitigating a
fire's spread is to create fire breaks or control lines, which can be
accomplished through the use of prescribed fire, by eliminating vegetation
that would otherwise "feed" or carry a wildfire. Each year, through a
coordinated effort between Holloman Air Force Base, Ft. Bliss and the BLM,
firefighters have been able to treat fuels that will maintain, extend and
enhance the fire break. During the course of one day--February 10th,
hand-ignition methods will be used to continue the fire break, in
accordance with the treatment plan.

Smoke will be present during the ignition phase of both burns, however, it
will be most visible during the Dripping Springs project due to the
proximity of the project site to Las Cruces and surrounding area residents
and visitors. The primary fuel type being treated is grass and it is
expected that smoke emissions will have a short duration, where light winds
will help with smoke dispersal.

On a prescribed burn, ignition is dependent on weather and fuel conditions
on the day(s) of the burn. Conditions, including temperature, humidity,
wind speed, ventilation that will allow for good smoke dispersal; and
availability of fire personnel and other resources must be within a
pre-identified range; if they are not, the burn will be postponed.

For additional information about the prescribed fire projects, please
contact Loretta Benavidez, Fire Mitigation and Education Specialist at
575-749-3278 or visit: www.nmfireinfo.com