Greater Santa Fe Fireshed Coalition Releases Virtual Field Tour Of Pacheco Canyon Forest Restoration
SANTA FE — April 21, the Greater Santa Fe Fireshed Coalition (GSFC), in partnership with the Fire Adapted New Mexico Learning Network (FACNM), and the Forest Stewards Guild, hosted a field tour of Pacheco Canyon to discuss the history of wildfire resilience treatments in the area, including how thinning and prescribed fire treatments slowed the 2020 Medio Fire’s forward progress.
This virtual field tour and video was funded in part by the USDA’s Joint Chiefs’ Landscape Restoration Partnership. Treatments on the 2,042-acre Pacheco Canyon project protected significant values at risk, including the Santa Fe ski basin and municipal watershed, and created conditions for a safe and effective fire response.
The field tour was captured on video, and the 12-minute virtual Pacheco Canyon field tour can be viewed here.
The video highlights important themes in the Fireshed Coalition’s work surrounding Santa Fe, including the long history of partnerships that support effective wildfire risk reduction treatments on the Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF), the perspective of Pueblo of Tesuque partners and the role of science in land management collaboratives.
April 21, the date of the field tour in Pacheco Canyon, the Hermit’s Peak Fire was approximately 7,500 acres and the Calf Canyon Fire was 150 acres. soon, unprecedented extreme weather, including 32 red flag warning days in April and May, caused the two fires to merge and grow exponentially. The combined Hermits Peak-Calf Canyon Fire is now the largest in New Mexico history at 341,735 acres, destroying more than 900 structures and devastating forested landscapes, watershed and multiple communities.
In the aftermath of the fire, Forest Service Chief Randy Moor called for a 90-day pause on prescribed fire operations and a national review of processes and policies for implementing this important land management tool. The Fireshed Coalition partners’ hearts go out to San Miguel, Mora, and Taos Counties. Many partners continue to support response, recovery and assistance efforts. The Pacheco Canyon project, and forest restoration projects like this, aim to reduce conditions that enable destructive mega-fires such as the Hermits Peak and Calf Canyon fires.
The Greater Santa Fe Fireshed Coalition uses a pro-active, collaborative approach to improve the health and long-term resilience of forested watersheds and communities by addressing wildfire. The Coalition works to build support, understanding, and shared knowledge of the role of fire in an adaptive framework to realize these goals. The Fireshed Coalition’s primary goal is to identify and implement high priority on-the ground projects that make the Fireshed and its communities more resilient to wildfire while maintaining and restoring resilient landscapes.