June 29, 2016
Contact: Kimberly DeVall
Fire management operations on the Big Hat fire will be taking advantage of favorable conditions to burn two sections of land that were originally planned to be burned this fall. As a result of the ignitions and burn out, increased smoke and fire activity will be visible.
The lightning caused fire is located in the Banco Bonito area in the southwestern portion of the preserve in an area of forest that had been thinned over the last two years. The fire management team is managing this natural fire for resource benefit, removing forest-floor fuels and improving wildlife habitat, while conserving the cultural resources in the area. Managed fires are only allowed within certain specific parameters and conditions allowing fire managers to be proactive.
When weather conditions allow, fire managers hope to burn out two sections, approximately 150 and 300 acres each. The goal is to monitor fire behavior closely until weather and other factors align in order to meet objectives. The exact burn out dates are uncertain at this time, but could begin within the next few days and may carryover through the weekend.
There are currently no closures or impacts to recreation due to the fire. It is not threatening any structures and will be monitored by fire managers who may use a full range of actions such as conducting hand or aerial ignitions, to delay, direct, or minimize the spread of fire in one or more areas if necessary.
The current weather forecast calls for a chance of thunderstorms each day of the week, and the fire activity will change day to day. On drier days, an increase in smoke and fire behavior may be noticed. On days with more clouds and moisture there may be little or no smoke or fire growth. However, smoke may be a health concern for children, pregnant women, senior citizens, and those suffering from allergies, asthma, chemical sensitivities, or other heart or lung diseases. To reduce exposure to smoke, stay indoors with windows, doors, and vents closed. Avoid or limit physical activities outdoors. Information on health impacts from smoke can be found by calling the New Mexico Department of Health at 1-888-878-8992, or visiting: https://nmtracking.org/fire.