| Partners to Conduct Fall Season Prescribed Fire at Cottonwood Gulch’s BasecampNM Fire Info

Logos of Cottonwood Gulch Expeditions, Forest Stewards Guild, the Ember Alliance and the Nature Conservancy
NEWS RELEASE: September 20, 2022

Cottonwood Gulch Expeditions, Forest Stewards Guild, The Ember Alliance, The Nature Conservancy, and collaborative partners to implement a broadcast burn at Cottonwood Gulch’s Basecamp this fall season.

Santa Fe, NM – Cottonwood Gulch Expeditions is partnering with the Forest Stewards Guild (the Guild), The Ember Alliance, The Nature Conservancy, McKinley County, and a diverse group of collaborators to implement a broadcast burn on up to 120 acres of private land in McKinley County this fall season. Ignitions are expected to be conducted over 2 – 3 days with potential smoke impacts over 4 days. Patrolling of the burn area will continue as needed. The burn team will select specific ignition days based upon current fuel moisture and weather at the burn site, as well as future forecasts. The burn team is wildland fire qualified and will have many decades of experience present. The team will operate within the parameters of a reviewed and approved burn plan, in close coordination with local fire officials, and will have many resources on site to hold and patrol the burn so that is secured within its control lines.

Cottonwood Gulch Expeditions is an outdoor education non-profit offering youth expeditions and school programs rooted in the culture and landscape ofthe American Southwest. They have been an active land management partner in the Zuni Mountains for more than 15 years. Cottonwood Gulch has collaborated with the Guild to successfully implement cooperative prescribed burns in 2015 and 2016.

Prescribed broadcast burns are part of a long-term process to make forests and watersheds more resilient to disturbances. Burning during the cooler fall shoulder season allows land managers to reduce build-up of flammable litter and branches (hazardous fuels) from forest ecosystems before the fire season and protect communities from hazardous wildfires. These forests are adapted to fire and require recurrent low-intensity burns to remain healthy. Prescribed burning promotes forest health, safeguards water sources, improves habitat for wildlife, and protects nearby communities by mitigating the potential for future catastrophic wildfires.

The team will actively use emissions reduction techniques to minimize smoke impacts. They will do this in close coordination with local fire departments and air quality regulators. Potentially affected communities include Thoreau, Bluewater Acres, Bluewater Village, Grants, Prewitt, Milan, San Rafael, Coolidge, and Continental Divide.

Additional information will be shared as a specific burn window that meets our burn plan develops. Media, elected officials, and landowners interested in observing the burn are encouraged to contact Eytan Krasilovsky as soon as possible to coordinate.

Learn more about Fire Adapted Communities New Mexico at www.facnm.org. More information on smoke, human health, and a HEPA Filter Loan Program can be accessed by visiting https://facnm.org/smoke.

For more information contact Eytan Krasilovsky, 505-470-0185, eytan@forestguild.org. The burn is supported by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Partner’s Program. The Forest Stewards Guild is an equal opportunity provider.

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