The National Park Service at El Malpais National Monument are conducting a prescribed fire on the North side of the monument adjacent to Hwy 53 between mm 68 and the entrance to the El Calderon area. The Lava Fields prescribed fire is approximately 375 acres. The prescribed fire is tentatively scheduled for the week of May 10th. Exact dates and times can change dependent on weather and fuel conditions. The prescribed fire is expected to last two to four days with smoke present for several days. Firefighters plan to use handheld ignitions.
The El Calderon Road (NPS 100 Road) will be closed to non-resident traffic during the ignition phase. Additionally the Continental Divide Trail (which is the southern boundary of the burn unit) will be closed for the days where active ignition is taking place. If conditions warrant, a pilot car may be used along Hwy 53. Please slow down, turn your headlights on, and watch for firefighters working along the Hwy when traveling in this area.
The primary objective of this prescribed fire is to improve forest health by reducing the build-up of vegetation that can fuel a wildfire. Fire plays a natural role at El Malpais and helps ensure the resiliency of this fire dependent ecosystem.