By Mr. Chuck D Roberts (White Sands Missile Range)March 18, 2019
Weather and other conditions permitting, White Sands Missile Range (WSMR) plans to implement a prescribed fire project in the northeast quadrant of WSMR. The revised dates are March 30 through April 8, 2019.
The Hunter's Lodge Prescribed Fire project consists of four burn areas located on both sides of Range Road 9 near the WSMR northern boundary just south of U. S. Highway 380, and extends south and east to the boundary of the Red Rio Bombing Range.
The prescribed fire area is part of the Oscura Mountains foothills and includes parts of Chupadera Mesa. The project boundaries are mostly two-track and grader-maintained roads.
Ignition is planned to last four to six days in total and will produce visible smoke each day to the public on US Highway 380, especially in the vicinity of Bingham. These fires may result in some residual smoke that can settle into drainage bottoms during nighttime hours for a few days after ignitions are complete.
This prescribed fire is part of a fuels reduction and grassland maintenance project on WSMR to enhance native forage for a variety of wildlife species. Weather and other conditions permitting, approximately 6,000 acres will be burned to reduce the invasion of one-seed juniper seedlings, remove plant litter, recycle nutrients and create a seedbed for new growth of native forbs and browse plants.
This prescribed fire will be implemented under a prescriptive set of guidelines and weather parameters that consider, first and foremost, public and firefighter safety, as well as smoke impacts and fire effects on the vegetation being burned. If unsafe weather conditions or military scheduling conflicts exist or are forecast, the burn will be delayed until such time as all prescription parameters are met.
The Hunter's Lodge Prescribed Fire will be executed by a mix of personnel from the WSMR Fire and Emergency Services, the Bureau of Land Management, and contracted wildland fire services.
Anyone having questions or concerns about the planned activity can call WSMR Wildlife Biologist Patrick Morrow at 575-678-7095, WSMR Fire and Emergency Services Chief Carlos Soto at 575-678-4187, Wildland Fire Specialist Steve Bumgarner at 575-386-6558, WSMR Public Affairs at 575-678-1134.