Fire management is also an important management tool. Controlled burns allow refuge staff to enhance wildlife habitat while reducing the possibility of damaging wildfires. Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge introduced a controlled burn program in 2000 and has burned a total of 4,500 acres on the refuge. All burns are conducted using plans developed by qualified and experienced fire management professionals.
Though smoke from burns is visible from surrounding communities, fire management staff at Sevilleta monitor weather and fuel conditions to ensure that burns achieve the best results with minimum smoke impact on local residents.
Combined with mechanical brush reduction, burning benefits the area by opening habitat lost to invasive vegetation and removing potentially hazardous wildfire fuels. The refuge management plans include continuing prescribed burns on established fire units on a rotational basis while adding additional areas that will benefit from fire introduction.