Concerns over prescribed burn on windy day

Created: 05/07/2014 5:20 PM
By: Jorge Torres, KOB Eyewitness News 4

The Cerro Grande Fire burned 48,000 acres in Los Alamos along with 400 homes almost 15 years ago. The scars can still be seen to this day.

The cause was a controlled burn that was anything but.

"That fire really damaged Los Alamos. They're still trying to recover," said Tom Cordova.

Fast forward to today. Fire officials with the Bureau of Land Management are conducting another controlled burn. This time it's on the Mesa Chivato near San Luis.

The grim weather conditions this afternoon are actually necessary in that part of the state so that more fuels like piñon and juniper won't grow and make things worse down the road.

Brent Wachter with the National Weather Service says that BLM officials want to introduce fire to the landscape on their terms and not during the really dry and bad conditions. A windy and dry day like today is perfect for this remote area and type of vegetation.

Most residents agree with prescribed burns, but Dennis Sanchez states that today isn't the day.

"Since it's been so dry, we haven't had any rain and it's pretty tinder up there. I don't think it would be a good choice to burn at this time," he said

"You don't just start a fire here and here and here and here and let the wind take it as it may. You get a gust up to 30 miles an hour. One shot and that sucker's gone," Cordova said.

The prescribed burn on the Mesa Chivato will continue to burn on and off until the end of November.

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