Crews have begun thinning trees on the final 133 acres of a 1,100-acre project near the La Cueva community in the Pecos and Las Vegas Ranger District of the Santa Fe National Forest. This project to create a shaded fuel break in a vulnerable area was approved in 2005 based on input from the community and analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act.

Today, 12 years later, Block E near N.M. 50 and County Road 63-A is the last area to be treated under the La Cueva Fuel Break project. Our state partners at the New Mexico State Forestry Division are assisting with implementation as part of their mission to protect private property from catastrophic wildfire and promote healthy, sustainable forests and watersheds for the benefit of all New Mexicans.

The La Cueva project uses a science-based framework to reduce the density of the forest to its historic (i.e., prior to human impacts) level. The outcome — which has been demonstrated over and over again on projects across the Southwest — will be improved plant and animal habitats, healthier trees that can better withstand insects, disease and climate change, and, most importantly, a reduced risk of large-scale, high-intensity wildfire spreading to or from La Cueva, Dalton Canyon and the Santa Fe Municipal Watershed.