Prescribed burn set for Sandias next week, Forest Service officials say

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — There’s a prescribed burn planned for next week in the Sandia Mountains, just a few miles from homes in Albuquerque’s Northeast Heights, U.S. Forest Service officials said.

The resuming of these intentional burns comes as thousands of people in New Mexico are still recovering from the largest wildfire in state history, which started as a result of two prescribed burns led by federal workers that got out of control. The Calf Canyon Hermits Peak Fire brought a disaster last summer, destroying nearly 400 homes and charring ground across five counties.

Following the destruction, New Mexico residents and the state’s congressional delegation raised concerns about the practices.

The prescribed pile burning is set for a 100-acre area on the east side of the Sandia Mountains and could start as early as Monday. U.S. Forest Service officials said it will likely last at least a few days and they would like to complete it before the weekend.

The area is north of I-40, just outside of Cedar Crest.

Officials said the smoke should stay in the immediate area and should only affect the few people who live there.

People elsewhere in the East Mountains will only see it in the distance, and those in Albuquerque will likely not even catch a glimpse, officials said.

U.S. Forest Service officials said other prescribed burns are planned for next week near Mountainair, and in the Carson National Forest. Officials said there will not be any more in the Sandias.

Earlier this month, U.S. Forest Service officials with the Santa Fe National Forest told KOB 4 they are not doing any prescribed burns out of caution as they review their policies.