Information on Controlled Burning

The Forest Stewards Guild is working around New Mexico to help protect communities, restore forests, and maintain clean water through controlled burns. Controlled burns are an important part of building Fire Adapted Communities. Learn the ABC's of a Controlled Burn here (courtesy of The Nature Conservancy).

Would you like to hear about opportunities to participate in prescribed burns and build your wildland firefighter qualifications? Join our list of volunteer burners by registering here!

Fall 2018
For information about the All Hands All Lands Burn Team, visit Fire Adapted New Mexico and learn more about the project.

Spring 2018
Taos TREX (Prescribed Fire Training Exchange)

April 8th-19th 2018 in Taos, New Mexico
Gain fireline experience, work on your taskbook, sharpen your fireline leadership, and gear up for fire season at a prescribed fire training in Taos, NM.
FFT1, FFT2, ENGB, FIRB, and RXB2 training opportunities.
Apply here.
Registration deadline: February 16th
For more information and registration contact Rick Merrick:

Fall 2017
Rio Trampas Watershed Prescribed Fire Training Exchange (TREX)

The Nature Conservancy, the Taos Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the NM State Land Office, and the Forest Stewards Guild convened a two-week TREX near Penasco New Mexico to train firefighters and return wildfire to fire adapted ecosystems. This area is also referred to as the Copper Hill area.


  • Read the magazine sumary about the TREX and the Faces of Fire.
  • October 26 & 27, 2017 - Burning wrapped up on 10/26. The TREX team did an after-action review and then demobilized on 10/27. Picuria Pueblo Forestry is patrolling the burn units. Smoke may be visible for several days. Stay tuned for more information about all the great training, learning, and ecological fire that took place!
  • October 24 & 25, 2017 - Poor ventilation continued on 10/24 so the TREX team prepared patch-cut and broadcast burn units. Also on 10/24 the Guild led a group of 10 local landowners on a tour of recently burned areas to showcase the techniques used and initiate a dialogue about the use of fire on private lands. On 10/25 the team will continue burning as conditions allow.
  • October 23, 2017 - Ventilation conditions improved on 10/23 so the interagency TREX team completed their pile burning operations.
  • October 22, 2017 - Ventilation contitions were poor on the 22nd so the TREX team shifted into training and education mode. Participants caught up on their task books and recieved FEMO and forestry field sessions.
  • October 20 & 21, 2017 - Ventiliation conditions improved on the 20th, allowing TREX participants to resume burn operations. Prep work to remove fuel wood sized pieces from slash piles and within the burn unit created safer conditions for fire fighters, better fire effects, and a greater supply of fire wood for local residents. Ignitions focused on securing control lines along the edge of the burn unit. 10 Highlands University students from a fire ecology class toured the burn units with personal protective equipment and learned about the practice of prescribed fire to restore pinon-juniper and ponderosa pine ecosystems.
  • October 19, 2017 - The Rio Trampas Watershed TREX team worked hard on Wednesday 10/18 preparing and scouting units. We didn't burn due to poor ventilation. The team had a lively discussion led by FEMO Hanna Davis that evening based on a real management scenario from Bandelier National Monument. Wednesday's preparation paid off on Thursday 10/19 when the TREX organization safely and effectively returned fire to 60 acres of ponderosa pine ecosystems. In addition to leadership from the Taos BLM, the team included engine support from Gravitas Peak Wildfire Module from Colorado. The TREX then had an evening presentation from Dr. Doug Cram from NM State University after dinner. Conditions permitting, the TREX will continue burning on 10/20 and host an on-site tour of the burn operations for a fire ecology class from NM Highlands University in Las Vegas NM. Access photos here or on our Facebook page.
  • October 18, 2017 - The TREX team worked hard yesterday securing the north eastern unit adjacent to BLM and USFS lands and returned fire to 5 acres of ponderosa pine forest. New participants arrived from Revelstoke British Columbia and Spain. Participants worked in training and qualified positions from burn boss trainee to first time firefighter. Fire Effects Monitors tracked weather, smoke, and vegetative effects. Today the team will work to build on yesterdays efforts.
  • October 17, 2017 - The TREX team worked yesterday on training, site preparations, and scouting burn units. The team consists of volunteers, Cottonwood Gulch Foundation, Picuris Pueblo - Forestry, Tesuque Pueblo - Environment Department, Gering Fire, Bandelier National Monument, NM State Forestry Returning Heroes Program, the Forest Stewards Guild, the NM State Land Office, and the Taos Field Office of the Bureau of Land Management. Today the team is planning to return fire to ponderosa pine stands weather and conditions dependent.
  • October 6, 2017 - Access the press release about the rescheduled Rio Trampas TREX.
  • October 4, 2017 - Due to significant recent moisture, the Rio Trampas TREX has been rescheduled for October 15-26. Access the announcement here. Due to this change, the registration form is now live and can be accessed here.
  • September 20, 2017 - Prescribed Fire Training Exchange Planned in October on Bureau of Land Management and State Trust Lands near Peñasco NM, Weather Permitting

The Forest Stewards Guild in partnership with The Nature Conservancy, the Bureau of Land Management and the NM State Land Office will be hosting a Prescribed Fire Training Exchange (TREX) October 1-13, 2017.  The intent of this training is to provide opportunities for local and regional firefighters, scientists and managers to work and train together, build their experience in prescribed fire practices, fire effects, and other conservation efforts affecting forests, woodlands and grasslands in northern New Mexico. Opportunities for trainees to receive evaluations in Position Task Books for the positions of RXB2, ENGB, FIRB, FFT1 and FEMO will be available. This training is supported by the Collaborative Forest Restoration Program of the US Forest Service and The Nature Conservancy's TREX program.

The training will be organized as an incident, using the Incident Command System. Participants will serve in qualified and trainee firefighting positions on a burn team and will assist with preparing, scouting, briefing, igniting, holding, mop-up and patrol on the controlled burn. We will complete pre- and post-fire monitoring, train with equipment, practice fireline leadership skills and learn about local fire ecology and fire management. The work will take place in the Rio Trampas Watershed of northern New Mexico.

Spring 2017
Controlled Burning On Private Land In New Mexico

Read the new report from the Forest Stewards Guild and Promise PCES about the current state of controlled burning (prescribed fire) in New Mexico. The report discusses the legal framework, liability, and pathways to increase the use of controlled burning to improve the health of our forests and watersheds.

Rx Fire Council Exchange, NM and NorCAL:

The New Mexico Prescribed Fire Council, the New Mexico Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network, and the Guild invite you to join a Learning Exchange February 13 and 14 in Socorro NM. This Rx Fire Council exchange is between the NM and Northern California Councils and will be an excellent opportunity to learn and get involved! Access the flyer and agenda here. The RSVP deadline is February 8.

Luera and Chama TREXs:

There are two Prescribed Fire Training Exchanges (TREX) scheduled for Spring, 2017.

Download the Luera TREX flyer here.

Download the Chama TREX flyer here.

The South-Central Mountain RC&D, the NM State Land Office, the NM Prescribed Fire Council, the Chama Peak Land Alliance, The Nature Conservancy, and other partners will be hosting these TREX events in the Luera Mountains of South-Central, New Mexico and in the Chama area in the Spring of 2017.  The intent of these trainings are to provide opportunities for local and regional firefighters, scientists and managers to work and train together, build their experience in prescribed fire practices, fire effects, and other conservation efforts affecting forests, woodlands and grasslands in New Mexico and southern Colorado. Opportunities for trainees to receive evaluations in Position Task Books for the positions of RXB2, ENGB, FIRB, FFT1 and FEMO will be available.

We invite professional wildland firefighters and prescribed fire practitioners, fire and resource managers, ecologists, foresters, biologists, conservationists, students and faculty, researchers and scientists from federal, state, tribal, non-governmental and private organizations to be part of our burn team.

The trainings will be organized as an incident, using the Incident Command System. Participants will serve in qualified and trainee firefighting positions on a burn team and will assist with preparing, scouting, briefing, igniting, holding, mop-up and patrol on a controlled burn. We will also complete pre- and post-fire monitoring, train with equipment, practice fireline leadership skills and learn about local fire ecology and fire management.

The Nature Conservancy’s Fire Learning Network and the University of Idaho (UI) are happy to announce that UI College of Natural Resources is now offering an upper division companion course for Prescribed Fire Training Exchanges (TREX). This course is designed for non-degree seeking fire professionals, aspiring fire professionals, fire practitioners, enrolled undergraduate and graduate students, and anyone interested in increasing their knowledge of fire ecology, management, and related ecological sciences. Tuition rates are strictly in-state, regardless of residency. These credits count toward ecology or management in range, wildlife and forestry coursework. Find out more about the course

For more information about the Luera TREX contact Rick Merrick:

For more information about the Chama TREX contact Jeremy Bailey:

Fall 2016
Black Lake Controlled Burn:

Read the publication about the collaborative controlled burn: "Fire as an Ecosystem Process: The Black Lake Burn".

Read the SW Program Assistant's blog about her first controlled burn.

  • Update 10/31: The site was patroled for several weeks thanks to hard work from Moreno Valley Fire Department and HR Vigil Small Products staff. While on patrol they mopped up the site. The site has since recieved moisture and is out.
  • Update 10/13 Morning: Controlled Burning Wraps-Up on State Trust Lands near Black Lake NM, Smoke Expected to Continue for Several Days. Access the press release
  • Update 10/12: Today the collaborative burn team completed the 272 acre unit we began on Monday. In the last 8 days, the team returned fire to roughly 500 acres of ponderosa pine, mixed conifer, and aspen forests. The team will remain on site for the rest of the week to secure and mop-up. Smoke from today will settle into Angel Fire and low lying areas but will disperse tomorrow morning.
  • Update 10/11: Today the collaborative burn team worked well together to return fire to an additional 100 acres of ponderosa pine and mixed conifer forest. We plan to continue tomorrow to tie our burn units together.
  • Update 10/10 Evening:  The collaborative burn team worked together today to return fire to roughly 70 acres of ponderosa pine forest. Smoke will be settling into low lying areas this week so additional signs have been posted. Smoke will lift in the late mornings. Caution is advised near the junction of highways 120 and 434 at night. More information on smoke and human health can be accessed here, The public information team from the State Land Office and the Forest Stewards Guild visited many places between Hidden Lake and Angel Fire posting flyers and talking to people. Burn operations are expected to continue tomorrow and Wednesday. For information call 505-470-0185 or 505-946-7082.
  • Update 10/10: Ignitions are planned for Monday, weather permitting. Ignitions will continue throughout the week to reduce hazardous fuels and restore forest health to accomplish an additional 270 acres. Good ventilation is expected this week, but smoke will settle in low lying areas in the evenings and at night. Caution is advised near the junction of highways 120 and 434 in the evenings. Access the press release.
  • Update 10/7:  Burn operations went well today with 45 acres of ponderosa pine accomplished. In total, we treated approximately 260 acres were treated with roughly 30% of unburned grass. The grass was unavailable for burning as it was too green. We burned with a south wind to keep heavy smoke out of the Susan Lane community. Angel Fire experienced some smoke which should lift tomorrow. Moreno Valley Fire Department, Black Lake Station is patrolling the site over the weekend. Moisture is predicted.The interagency collaborative burn team is planning on continuing burning next week starting Monday, weather permitting. Access the press release.
  • Update 10/6: Burn operations went well today with an additional 140 acres accomplished. Approximately 30% of green grass was unburned. In total, 180 acres have been treated to date thanks to strong partnerships with the State Land Office, Angel Fire Fire Department, Moreno Valley Fire Department, Taos Ski Valley, and NM State Forestry. Smoke will settle in low areas in the night but will disperse the following day. Interior flames will be visible tonight but these visible flames are well in the interior. Ignitions are planned for tomorrow across approximatly 50-60 acres.
  • Update 10/5: Burn operations went well today with approximatly 40 acres accomplished. Additional burning is planned tomorrow weather permitting.
  • Press release on the Black Lake Controlled Burn October 4th
  • The Guild, the NM State Land Office, and partners have convened in Angel Fire to return fire to the Black Lake forest restoration site. Ignitions may begin 10/5 weather conditions permitting. Access the Press Release.  Partners include Moreno Valley Fire Department, Angel Fire Fire Department, Terra Fuego Resource Foundation, NM State Forestry, US Forest Service, Wildfire Network, and Santa Fe Youthworks. Partners are scouting and preparing the site while also conducting training. Stay tuned to this webpage for more information. This is made possible through support from the Nature Conservancy's Fire Learning Network.
  • Pre-Burn Public Meeting Scheduled for 9/28/2016. Access the flyer.
  • The Forest Stewards Guild is actively seeking qualified prescribed burners who have current NWCG qualifications as a firefighter type 2 or higher to join our cadre of burn practitioners to safely return fire to fire-adapted forests. Tentative burn dates, October 2-7 and October 9-14. 
    • Interested? Contact Matt Piccarello, Community Forestry Coordinator Forest Stewards Guild,, 505-470-9725.
    • Access a press release about Fall 2016 controlled burns here.
  • The Forest Stewards Guild is activly seeking qualified bids from Type Two Burn Bosses for up to three controlled burns this September and October in NM. Access the bid packet here. This bid is closed (10/1/2016). For more information contact Southwest Director Eytan Krasilovsky,

Cottonwood Gulch Controlled Burn:

  • Update 9/22: The Cottonwood Gulch burn unit recieved moisture on 9/21 and 9/22. Cottonwood Gulch staff will continue to monitor the site. Smoke from the interior of the burn may continue to be visible from Highway 612.
  • Update 9/17: The 20 acre burn unit was completed today. There are no ignitions planned for tomorrow. The burn operation is in a holding and monitoring status. Firefighting resources remain onsite at Cottonwood Gulch Foundation's property south of Thoreau NM and will be patrolling the burn area. Bluewater Acres Fire Department will patrol the burn for several days to ensure the fire stays within the control lines. There may be residual smoke over the next few days as fuels in the interior continue to consume. Access the 9/17 press release.
  • Update 9/16: Bluewater Acres Fire Department, Prometheus Fire Consulting, the City of Santa Fe, the Santa Fe National Forest, the Forest Stewards Guild, and The Nature Conservancy's Spanish Language Prescribed Fire Training Exchange successfully and safely returned fire to 12 acres of ponderosa pine forest at Cottonwood Gulch Foundation's property south of Thoreau NM. Smoke may settle near Bluewater Lake but will disperse tomorrow. Questions? Email or text Eytan Krasilovsky at or 505-470-0185. Access the press release here.
  • The Forest Stewards Guild is coordinating controlled training burns on September 16 and 17 at the Cottonwood Gulch Foundation Base Camp south of Thoreau New Mexico. This training burn will produce light smoke. For more information access the press release or contact Southwest Director Eytan Krasilovsky at 505-470-0185.

Spring 2015
La Cueva - Greater Santa Fe Fireshed

  • On March 9th, the Forest Stewards Guild burned 3 acres of piles in the La Cueva community. All piles are completely extinguished. There are no plans to conduct more pile burning this season.

  • The Forest Stewards Guild, in collaboration with local partners, will be conducting pile burns in the La Cueva community northeast of Santa Fe this March. Potential burn dates, weather dependent, are March 8 and 9. If you are a NWCG certified firefighter and are interested in participating in the burn please contact Matt Piccarello at More information about the burns is available at the links provided below. Access the press release here.

Winter 2015
Aztec Springs Controlled Burn - Greater Santa Fe Fireshed

  • Aztec Springs pile burn successfully burned over 180 piles on January 25th and 26th and is completed for the season. Learn more about this collaborative effort in this two page summary.  

  • Over 180 piles were successfully burned January 25th and 26th. Firefighters will monitor the site for several days for public safety. Smoke may be settle in the evening but should disperse the following day. The City of Santa Fe Fire Department carefully managed ignitions and smoke to limit impacts to surrounding areas. Firefighters also deployed wildlife protection techniques to limit potential impacts to small mammals.
  • Access the January 25th press release here. Smoke will be visible and may settle into drainages overnight, however it should disperse the next day. Managers are working to minimize smoke impacts. Check back here for updates or follow the Forest Stewards Guild on Twitter (@ForestGuild) or Facebook ( Have a question? Call 505-470-0185.
    • Forest Stewards Guild has partnered with the City of Santa Fe Fire Department, the Nature Conservancy, and others on the Aztec Springs pile burn. This is an important part of the Fire Department's mission to protect lives and property by strategically reducing hazardous fuels. A public meeting was held on December 16th at the Randall Davey Audubon Center (1800 Upper Canyon Rd, Santa Fe, NM 87505) from 5:30 - 7:00p.m.

Fall 2015
Cottonwood Gulch Controlled Burn 1

  • Forest Stewards Guild convened a controlled broadcast burn in McKinley County on private land with Cottonwood Gulch Foundation, the Pratt Ranch, the Nature Conservancy, and others. We coordinated our efforts with the McKinley County Fire Department, NM State Forestry, and the NM Air Quality Bureau. Read the Burning Across Fencelines Summary.
    • October 25: A successful training day was convened with the Bluewater Acres Fire Department. 12 firefighters were trained in wildland firefighting and prescribed fire.
    • October 26: Access the press release here.
    • October 27: Roughly 60 acres were burned today. We anchored our perimeters so that tomorrow we can complete our 92 acre burn unit and also work on other high priority areas. Smoke will settle into low lying areas at night but should disperse the following day.
    • October 28: Ignitions continued through 4:30pm. Firefighters were able to accomplish an additional 41 acres of prescribed burning. This brings the total acres treated with prescribed fire to 101 acres.
    • October 29: The site will continued to be monitored by firefighters for the next several days. They will patrol the perimeter for hot spots and other hazards. The site has received some rain today. This will assist with perimeter control. Smoke may be visible as interior fuels continue to consume.