JEMEZ SPRINGS, N.M. (KRQE) – People in the metro woke up to the smell and sights of smoke in the sky from the Pino Fire burning in the Jemez, and residents can expect more.
Firefighters plan to burn more than 2,000 acres Wednesday to reduce fuel for future wildfires.
On Tuesday, firefighters burned more than 1,600 acres, and a lot of that smoke stuck around overnight and created a haze on the horizon in the metro area.
The city’s Environmental Health Department has only issued a smoke watch, but they say those who are sensitive to smoke should always take precautions.
Lightning sparked the Pino Fire last month. The U.S. Forest Service transitioned it to a managed fire at the end of August to burn forest litter that’s grown over the past 100 years.
“We’ll be seeing a column going up,” said Karen Takai. “There’s a lot of dead and down from a hundred years and so we need to go through. This is our first time with fire in the area and this is when you’re going to see the most smoke coming up.”
Firefighters are using hand and aerial ignition to direct the fire and minimize the threat of future wildfires.
The plan now is to burn 2,200 acres. By Wednesday afternoon, firefighters plan to button up the operation and say smoke should dissipate over the next day or two.
The Forest Service warns travel along I-25, U.S. 550, and NM 4 could be impacted during the burn.