Slaughter Mesa Prescribed Fire Update
QUEMADO, N.M., March 25, 2015 – The Slaughter Mesa Prescribed Fire on the Gila National Forest may be underway again this week as environmental conditions reach appropriate levels for managers to resume the project. The 2,500-acre project is eight miles southeast of Quemado Lake on the Quemado Ranger District. Fire managers plan to continue operations on Slaughter Mesa through April 30 pending favorable conditions.
Project objectives include improving forest health and watershed conditions, restoring grasslands, enhancing wildlife habitat and reducing hazardous fuels. This prescribed fire will help restore pronghorn migration corridors to prevent isolating the Slaughter Mesa pronghorn population. Approximately 250 acres have been accomplished to date.
Support for this project is provided by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, New Mexico Department of Game and Fish Big Game enhancement and Habitat Stamp Improvement Programs, Wild Turkey Federation, Secure Rural Schools Act and Natural Resource Conservation Services.
The project area is near the junction of Forest Road 93 (Dead Horse Canyon Rd.) and County Road A095 (Mangas Mountain Road). Smoke will be noticeable north of the project from Highway 60, to the west from Quemado Lake and Quemado Lake Estates and east of the project from Pie Town, NM. Please use caution if traveling near the prescribed burn area.
Prescribed fire is an effective tool managers use to lower the risk of future severe wildfire. Implementation of the project will depend on availability of personnel and equipment, New Mexico Environment Department Air Quality Bureau approval and the appropriate conditions. Fire managers follow a burn plan that outlines the “prescription” or environmental conditions such as temperature, wind, fuel moisture, ventilation, and humidity that need to be met before the project begins.