Refuge Will Burn 7,500 acres in New Mexico
Proper conditions permitting, two prescribed burns will be conducted by fire managers at San Andres National Wildlife Refuge. A 4,000 acre burn is scheduled to be ignited on Friday, June 6. The second burn, 4,500 acres, is planned for Saturday, June 7. Smoke will be visible but is not expected to impact any local roads or communities. The planned fires are expected to lower wildfire risk by reducing the density of vegetation by 30 percent.
The burns in the rugged mountain terrain will also enhance natural areas inhabited by desert bighorn sheep by opening routes for migration and escape from predators. The refuge has the largest concentration of desert bighorn sheep in New Mexico.
The fires will be lit from a helicopter, one with a helitorch and the other with a “ping-pong ball machine” dropping balls injected with fuel. Firefighters from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, and the National Park Service will assist local refuge fire staff.
The San Andres National Wildlife Refuge is located about 20 miles northeast of Las Cruces. For more information about the refuge, go to http://www.fws.gov/southwest.
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