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SANTA FE, N.M. – The New Mexico State Land Office and partners have successfully completed a prescribed burn of 83 acres of state land south of Pie Town near Mangas Divide, Commissioner of Public Lands Stephanie Garcia Richard announced today. The State Land Office teamed up with the Nature Conservancy,The Ember Alliance, and the Forest Stewards Guild for the burn, which took place from November 12-17.

Given the historic wildfire season in New Mexico this spring and summer, the State Land Office and its partners took a number of precautions to ensure a safe and successful prescribed burn, including:

  • Closely evaluating weather parameters and fuels conditions to ensure they match what is expected and required in the burn plan
  • Taking a low-risk, cautious approach
  • Requiring ignitions to be approved on a daily basis
  • Keeping resources and personnel on-site longer after the fire is complete to ensure there is no threat of additional ignitions

“After such an historic wildfire season earlier this year and the fragile conditions of our forests due to climate change, I’m proud that our staff and partners took appropriate precautions to ensure this prescribed burn completed without incident,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Stephanie Garcia Richard. “We made a deliberate choice to conduct the burn when weather conditions are most suitable for prescribed burns, and kept boots on the ground after its conclusion to ensure it didn’t spread out of control. Being good stewards of state land is our responsibility, but the safety of New Mexico’s residents always comes first. We are building a blueprint for how to conduct necessary fire management in a safe and thoughtful manner.” 

The project also represented a step forward in diversity for the prescribed burn community, as more than 60 percent of the fire crew were women. Many of the crew had also recently completed training, an encouraging sign for a field in need of new talent.

In addition to the precautions taken above, the State Land Office and its partners placed a public notice of the prescribed burn in a local newspaper, on the Catron County website, and at various businesses throughout the county.

Commissioner of Public Lands Stephanie Garcia Richard has overseen the New Mexico State Land Office since 2019. In that time the agency has raised more than $5 billion for New Mexico public schools, hospitals, and universities. Over 13 million acres of state trust land are leased for a variety of uses, including ranching and farming, renewable energy, business development, mineral development, and outdoor recreation. The State Land Office has a dual mandate to use state trust land to financially support vital public institutions, while simultaneously working to protect the land for future generations.