Durfee Bolander prescribed fire map. Courtesy photo.

Cibola National Forest and National Grasslands fire crews plan to conduct the Durfee Bolander prescribed fire project on the Magdalena Ranger District starting as early as Nov. 13, and continuing through Nov. 20, pending suitable conditions.

The project area is located within Socorro County on Unit 7 in the vicinity of Durfee and Bolander canyon, along FSR 220 and 220X and involves approximately 962 acres of broadcast burning of grass, pinyon juniper and pine. Review the Durfee Bolander prescribed fire map.

Prescribed fires are utilized to remove hazardous fuels, return nutrients to the soil and improve forest health. Fuels specialists write prescribed fire plans that identify – or prescribe – the best conditions under which trees and other plants will burn to get the best results safely. Prescribed fire plans consider temperature, humidity, wind, moisture of the vegetation and conditions for dispersal smoke.

Exact ignition dates will depend upon agency administrator approval and conditions within the ranges outlined in prescribed fire plans. Optimal conditions will result in effective smoke ventilation and dispersal and help achieve the desired effects needed to accomplish the prescribed fire plan objectives.

With fire there is smoke, but firefighters take measures to reduce smoke impacts as much as possible. Fire crews use tactics such as starting early in the day and ending ignitions early in the afternoon to allow for the most ventilation possible throughout the burn and dividing blocks into smaller units to minimize smoke impacts as much as possible. However, smoke may be visible periodically from the communities of Magdalena, Alamo and Datil for the duration of the project until the burning vegetation is out. Information on air quality and protecting your health can be found online at the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) Environmental Public Health Tracking (EPHT) website.

The land management strategy is centered on long-term forest health. That strategy includes reducing forest fuels and using prescribed fire on the landscape. A healthy forest is a resilient forest that undergoes fire occurrences on a regular basis. After this prescribed fire is completed, if a future wildfire reaches this area, the fire behavior will likely be modified to a less intense, more manageable surface fire due to the absence of accumulated debris and ladder fuels.

Updates on the Durfee Bolander Prescribed Fire will be posted on InciWeb, New Mexico Fire Information website and on the Cibola NF & NGs website, Facebook and Twitter pages.  

For more information on the Durfee Bolander Unit 7 prescribed fire project, contact the Cibola National Forest and National Grasslands:

Magdalena Ranger District Office

Supervisor’s Office

Chieftain Staff Report