Jemez Ranger District Plans Vallecitos Prescribed Burn

Julie Anne Overton

SANTA FE NATIONAL FOREST

 

Fire managers on the Santa Fe National Forest hope to take advantage of unseasonably favorable conditions, including fuel moisture levels, air quality and weather forecasts, to resume the Vallecitos prescribed burn on the Jemez Ranger District.

Ignitions could begin as early as Tuesday, Nov. 28, on the final 91-acre unit in the Vallecitos treatment area adjacent to the East Fork trail head and NM Highway 4.

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More  News From the Wooded Areas Up Above Us and All Around Us

Julie Anne Overton

SANTA FE NATIONAL FOREST

The Santa Fe National Forest invites fuelwood permit holders to take advantage of recent thinning projects along Forest Road (FR) 376 near the Gilman Tunnels to collect firewood for the winter.

The wood has already been felled, limbed and bucked into six-foot lengths for the convenience of the public.  All you need to collect up to five cords of wood is a valid fuelwood permit which can be purchased for $20.  The FR 376 fuelwood area will be open until Dec. 31, 2017.

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Cut-Your-Own Christmas Tree Permits On Sale Nov. 20; 4th Graders Can Get One Free

SANTA FE NATIONAL FOREST

Permits to cut your own Christmas tree on the Santa Fe National Forest go on sale Monday, Nov. 20, 2017, at Forest Headquarters, all Ranger District offices and select third-party vendors.

As part of the “Every Kid in a Park” initiative, every fourth grader is eligible for a free holiday tree permit.  In order to redeem the free permit, the student must present a valid fourth-grade pass, downloadable at www.everykidinapark.gov.  Once the pass is printed out, the fourth graders must bring a parent or guardian over the age of 18 with them to the nearest SFNF office to pick up the permit.  The free permits can only be fulfilled at a Santa Fe National Forest office.

The nonrefundable Christmas tree permits are for personal use only and may be purchased for $10 by check, credit/debit card or cash through Dec. 23, 2017.  Permit purchasers will receive a tree tag, map and guidelines for harvesting a tree.

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Santa Fe National Forest Offices Closed

Julie Anne Overton 
Acting Public Affairs Officer, SANTA FE NATIONAL FOREST

All Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) offices will be closed Friday, Nov. 10, 2017, in observance of Veterans Day, which honors the service of all who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Forest offices will resume regular business hours on Monday, Nov. 13.

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Forest Service Hiring for Temporary Positions for 2018 Field Season

By Julie Anne Overton, Acting Public Affairs Officer

SANTA FE NATIONAL FOREST

The Forest Service, U. S. Department of Agriculture, will be accepting applications for temporary spring and summer jobs in Arizona and New Mexico from November 1-9, 2017.

More information on temporary employment in the Forest Service’s Southwestern Region can be found at Centralized Temporary Hiring Outreach, including a link to the 2018 Outreach Notice with job listings for the Southwestern Region.

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Stable Mesa Prescribed Burn Begins

JEMEZ RANGER DISTRICT OF THE SANTA FE NATIONAL FOREST

Fire managers on the Jemez Ranger District of the Santa Fe National Forest started operations on the 1,950-acre Stable Mesa prescribed burn today, blacklining the perimeter of the treatment area.  If conditions, including fuel moisture levels, air quality and weather forecasts, are favorable, the expectation is to complete ignitions this weekend.

The Stable Mesa unit is located about 5 miles northwest of Jemez Springs, 8 miles north of Gilman and 6 miles west of La Cueva.

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Firewood Permits at Santa Fe National Forest Offices

We might be in the midst of an unseasonably warm spell, but since seasons do change what lies ahead is Winter. I have noticed that folk have been reaching an old post, dating back to May this year, that details the firewood permits offered by the  Santa Fe National Forest. That information is still accurate, so to make access to it easier here it is again.

 

Jemez Ranger District Firewood Permits for Sale Now

Fall Prescribed Burns Planned on Jemez Ranger District

Julie Anne Overton
Acting Public Affairs Officer, SANTA FE NATIONAL FOREST

Fire managers on the Jemez Ranger District of the Santa Fe National Forest hope to take advantage of favorable fall conditions to conduct prescribed burns as early as Monday, Oct. 16.  That window is dependent on favorable conditions, including fuel moisture levels, air quality and weather forecasts.

The primary target is a planned broadcast burn on the 1,950-acre Stable unit located about 5 miles northwest of Jemez Springs, 8 miles north of Gilman and 6 miles west of La Cueva.

Additional projects fire managers are considering for this fall include:

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All over?…

Entrance to the “fire zone” off Forest Road 376 yesterday. Rising smoke visible beyond skyline.

Julie Anne Overton, Acting Public Affairs Officer for the Santa Fe National Forest issued this final sounding press release concerning the Deer Creek Fire:

Crews on the Santa Fe National Forest have completed fire operations on the 1,022-acre Deer Creek Fire on the Jemez Ranger District of the Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF).  The lightning-caused wildfire on Peggy Mesa gave fire managers the opportunity to capitalize on a natural ignition to provide long-term benefits to the fire-adapted ecosystem.

Objectives for the fire included:

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Heavy Fire Traffic on Forest Road 376

Smoke rose above and crept down the mesa this morning.

The Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) warns that today heavy fire traffic is expected on the south end of Forest Road 376, and motorists are urged to use caution while driving through the staging area. This is the road that is the continuation of N.M. Highway 485 which starts at N.M. Highway 4 north of Cañon. Forest Road 376 is popular with visitors to the Jemez; it passes through the recently reopened Gilman Tunnels.

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Still Smoking and Planning to Smoke Some More

(POST UPDATED)

Photos R.W.

 

Smoke from the Deer Creek fire rose into a cloudy sky; it was actually starting to rain when I took these photos. The burn area got some rain yesterday too, but  “fuel moistures” are reported to still be low.The wind this afternoon was quite strong, and the plume traveled in what looked like a northeasterly direction, from my angle of observation, without rising too high.

In a press release, Julie Anne Overton reports that the fire is holding at 140 acres. The Forest Service plans to extend it to an  area of 1,022 acres. Fire crews have finished the preparatory work along the perimeter of the proposed extent of the fire.

Today a helicopter will make observations of the area as crews begin hand ignitions to blackline the perimeter.  Aerial ignitions may begin as early as Sunday.  A smoke monitoring system has been placed on the Jemez Pueblo and will monitor air quality during the remainder of the fire.

 

UPDATE:

And see what happens when the wind suddenly changes direction. This will give the smoke monitoring station in Jemez Pueblo something to monitor.

Looking south, toward Cañon and Jemez Pueblo:

Updates on Deer Creek and Five Other Current Santa Fe National Forest Fires

By Julie Anne Overton and Dianne A. Berry
SANTA FE NATIONAL FOREST

Fire managers on the Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) continue to manage the lightning-caused Deer Creek Fire on the Jemez Ranger District and the Ojitos Fire on the Coyote Ranger District by using low-intensity fire on the ground to achieve multiple resource benefits.

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Fall Alert

Photos R.W.

Still late Summer in the air, and the bosque and the high country not quite committed to the new season, but symptoms of coming change are popping up all over. Here are a few faint signs:

Aspen, most are still green. This is new growth, just above Los Alamos, in an area burnt a few years ago. 

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Deer Creek Fire and Other Forest News

By Julie Anne Overton

SANTA FE NATIONAL FOREST

 

Fire managers on the Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) plan to manage the lightning-caused Deer Creek Fire on Peggy Mesa by using low-intensity fire on the ground to achieve multiple resource benefits.

The Deer Creek Fire started Sept. 15 on Peggy Mesa in the old San Diego prescribed burn area and adjacent to the site of this summer’s lightning-caused Peggy Fire.  Objectives for managing the Deer Creek Fire include:

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Deer Creek Fire Smoke Rises Over the Nascimientos

Photos R.W.

Smoke from the lightning strike caused Deer Creek Fire has now become visible in the southern parts of the Jemez Valley.  It started on Sept. 18 when it was estimated at about eight acres, but has most likely grown by now. No new reports on its progress have yet been posted  on New Mexico Fire Information or the Santa Fe National Forest sites.

The fire is burning on the Jemez Ranger District next to the site of the Peggy Fire.

 

Smoke Rising Over Gilman and Two Other Fires in Santa Fe National Forest

By Julie Anne Overton

SANTA FE NATIONAL FOREST

Three lightning-caused fires on the Santa Fe National Forest are putting up visible smoke today as crews keep an eye on the Deer Creek, Beaver Creek, and Ojitos Fires.

A lightning strike on Friday started the Deer Creek Fire, estimated at about eight acres, on the Jemez Ranger District next to the site of the Peggy Fire which started on July 18.  As crews monitor the Deer Creek Fire, which is about 2 miles northwest of the Gilman Tunnels, smoke has been reported from US Highway 550 and may impact the Pueblo of Jemez and the communities of Gilman and Cañon.

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Beaver Creek Fire in the Pecos/Las Vegas Ranger District

By Julie Anne Overton

SANTA FE NATIONAL FOREST

Reported: Members of the public reported seeing smoke on Sept. 10, 2017, and the Barillas Fire Lookout Tower confirmed smoke and an approximate location on Sept. 11.

Cause:  Unconfirmed, but lightning is the most probable cause.

Size: Estimated at 1-2 acres.

Location:  On the southeastern edge of the Pecos Wilderness on the Pecos/Las Vegas Ranger District of the Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) near Hermit’s Peak and about 4 miles south of the village of Rociada.

Vegetation:  Mixed conifer.

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Large Animals Thrive in the Jemez in Improved Forest Conditions

Video: New Mexico State University. 

An article in the Las Cruces Sun-News explores the results of habitat restoration  through prescribed burns and forest thinning that have been part of the Southwest Jemez Collaborative Landscape Restoration Project.

The study results so far give interesting insights into the changing conditions into the Santa Fe National Forest and Valles Caldera National Preserve in the mountains above us.

The link to the article is here.

 

SFNF Waives Fees for National Public Lands Day; Volunteers Needed for Trail Improvement Projects

By Julie Anne Overton

SANTA FE NATIONAL FOREST

The Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) invites you to celebrate National Public Lands Day on the SFNF on Saturday, Sept. 30, by volunteering to work on popular multi-use trails that need a little TLC.  Or, take advantage of the third fee-free day of the year to visit your favorite sites on the forest for free.

National Public Lands Day is the largest single-day volunteer effort for public lands.  Last year, over 200,000 volunteers at 2,600 locations accomplished $18 million in public land improvements.  This year, the SFNF is offering two great opportunities to get outside with friends and family while practicing environmental stewardship:

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Why So Blue

By R.W.

The Sandias as seen from U.S. 550 during the last few days.

There is a fairly contained, small, piñon/juniper wildfire burning nearby, on Borrego Mesa, and a prospect of several prescribed burns later this month on the Española Ranger District, just announced by the Santa Fe National Forest. None of that is, or will be, responsible for the smoke blurring our horizons and creeping into our bedrooms now, and likely to continue doing so through the rest of this Summer and into Fall.

This smoke blowing our way, and across the lower 48, is from the wildfires burning through the Northwest and Midwest, including vast conflagrations in California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho,  Montana, Utah and British Columbia.

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Lightning Caused Fire Burning on Borrego Mesa

By Julie Anne Overton , Acting Public Affairs Officer

SANTA FE NATIONAL FOREST

Start Date: Sept. 4, 2017

Cause: Lightning

Size:  Approximately 12 acres

Location:  Borrego Mesa on the Jemez Ranger District of the Santa Fe National Forest, approximately 3 miles southeast of Ponderosa and approximately 1 mile north of the northern boundary of Zia Pueblo tribal lands.

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Continental Divide Trail Remains Closed

By Julie Anne Overton

SANTA FE NATIONAL FOREST

The Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) has extended the closure of a segment of the Continental Divide Trail (CDT) on the Coyote Ranger District to provide for public safety as fire crews continue to work on the Ojitos Fire in the Chama River Wilderness.  The temporary closure is in effect until Dec. 31, 2017, unless it is rescinded earlier.

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The Mighty Bighorn

By Daryl Ratajczak

Wildlife Biologist, Forest Planning Team

SANTA FE NATIONAL FOREST

Fragment of photo by Jwanamaker – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=28291925

Bighorn Sheep.

I stood motionless, afraid to even blink let alone breathe. His bulbous eye focused on the offcolored rock sitting before him. His 220-pound frame was sleek and well-defined but nothing compared to what it would be in a few months when he bulked up to begin defending his right to breed. The Rocky Mountain bighorn ram standing before me was already a fine specimen, he was soon going to be a fierce competitor as well. Imagining the thunderous clap resounding from his mighty horns as he beat down his rivals, I had little doubt he would maintain his bloodline this coming breeding season.

So went my first encounter with New Mexico’s largest wild sheep. You can imagine my surprise as I learned about this majestic animal and its struggle to maintain a foothold in the rocky and wild places it calls home. As an invited member to a bighorn sheep management meeting, my first priority was to gather as much information about the animal as possible. As a wildlife biologist, I have managed numerous species of big game animals, but this was going to be my first foray with bighorns, therefore, I was quite content letting the experts lead the discussion.

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News from Deep in the Woods

SANTA FE NATIONAL FOREST

The Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) expects a large number of visitors for the final holiday weekend of the summer season, but please bear in mind that the (SFNF) Supervisor’s Office and all Ranger District offices will be closed Monday, Sept. 4, 2017, in observance of Labor Day.  Normal business hours will resume on Tuesday, Sept. 5.

This, and other Forest news:

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Gilman Tunnels Are Back

It took a while, somewhat close to what the Forest Service predicted, but at last the tunnels over the Rio Guadalupe have reopened. It is hard to tell what has been removed; I will need to dig deep into my photo archives and do a before-and-after study. A casual glance up above still gives that slightly uncomfortable feeling that any moment a rock will tumble down on me, but then what do I know about the subtle science of granite rock stabilization.

What makes the most impact are the piles of granite lining the sides and the wonderful absence of graffiti. Even the guardrails have been cleaned; let’s hope this lasts for a while.

As good as new, just the rail track missing.

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