On May 11-12, 2016, fire managers at El Malpais National Monument successfully implemented the Big Tubes Prescribed Burn. This was only possible because of the interagency support of our local cooperators. The approximately 1,000 acre burn unit was located on the west side of the monument and east of County Road 42.
The primary objective of this prescribed burn was to improve the grassland and forest health. This prescribed burn helped release nitrogen along the lava flow margin to encourage Aspen regeneration and it will also help prevent encroachment by Pinyon and Juniper into the grassy open areas within the burn unit, to provide a more resilient Ponderosa Pine ecosystem.
Reducing the Build-Up of Fuel
This prescribed burn also played an important role in reducing the amount of excessive fuel build-up to reduce possible fire behavior in the event of a wildfire.
Fire is a natural part of the El Malpais ecosystem and reducing fuel build-up helps ensure the resiliency of fire dependent ecosystems. Over 100 years of fire suppression has occurred on most public lands throughout the western United States, which has greatly affected forest health and wildlife.
Benefits of Prescribed Fire
Restoration of forest and woodland ecosystems using appropriate management actions (e.g. prescribed burns) helps to re-establish the natural fire regime and benefits native plant and animal communities while at the same time protecting visitors, facilities, and resources within and adjacent to the park from unwanted fire effects from wildfires.
Initial results from the prescribed fire indicate objectives were met.
Contact: Kevin Parrish, Fire Management Officer, (505) 285-4641x35.
Last updated: June 12, 2016