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San Andres National Wildlife Refuge
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July 2011 prescribed burn on the Refuge. Photo taken by C. Bartram, Refuge Engineering Equipment Operator
July 2011 prescribed burn on the Refuge. Photo Credit: C. Bartram, USFWS
San Andres National Wildlife Refuge's
Prescribed Burning
  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, New Mexico Fire District emblem logo  
New Mexico Fire District Draft Fire Management Plan and Environmental Assessment. Comment Period ended and
Final documents coming soon.
San Andres National Wildlife Refuge has an aggressive prescribed burning program which improves habitat for desert bighorn sheep and mule deer. The purpose of the program is to mimic historic fire occurrence which has been altered due to grazing by livestock and long term fire suppression.

Refuge prescribed fires are typically conducted in early to mid June when humidity
is the lowest and temperatures are the hottest. The objective of these burns are to reduce woody vegetation such as junipers that are moving into former grasslands.
The fires not only reduce the amount of woody vegetation, they recycle nutrients into the soil, and improve the nutritional value of plants that desert bighorn sheep and mule deer eat. Over time, plants such as mountain mahogany grow large and tall, become more woody with large branches and stems, and become decadent. This means the plant is essentially of no value to bighorn and deer and by burning these plants, the woody part of the plant is eliminated and the roots send up sprouts that contain more nutrients and are easier for the animals to feed on. All of these plants and animals have evolved with fire. The Refuge has been conducting prescribed burns since 1999 and about 47,000 acres have been treated so far.
Prescribed burn of exotic salt cedar; January, 2013. Photo taken by M. Goyette, Biological Science Technician-Student Career Employment Program
Prescribed burn of exotic salt cedar; January, 2013. Photo Credit: M. Goyette, USFWS
The Refuge conducted its first prescribed burn within the San Andres Mountains on Black Brushy Mountain in June, 1999. Approximately 1,700 acres were treated during this operation.

Prescribed burn of exotic salt cedar; January, 2013. Photo taken by M. Goyette, Biological Science Technician-Student Career Employment Program
Prescribed burn January, 2013. Photo Credit: M. Goyette, USFWS
Prescribed burn with fire through a dead tree trunk. Photo taken by C. Bartram, Refuge Engineering Equipment Operator
Prescribed burn operation. Photo Credit: C. Bartram, USFWS
Prescribed burn of exotic salt cedar; January, 2013. Photo taken by M. Goyette, Biological Science Technician-Student Career Employment Program
Prescribed burn January, 2013. Photo Credit: M. Goyette, USFWS
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Last updated: January 9, 2014
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