BLM conducts prescribed burn operations in Socorro County

SOCORRO, N.M. The Bureau of Land Management, in conjunction with Holloman Air Force Base, has commenced a prescribed burn in Socorro County. During this operation, 35 personnel are concentrating their efforts on Red Rio Bombing Range, located on White Sands Missile Range approximately 18 miles west of Carrizozo.  This unit is on a live bombing range for Department of Defense aircraft. 

The BLM assists in burn operations for the military on an annual basis when the range is not being used. The purpose of the burn is to reduce flashy fuels (grass, light brush) in the interior of the burn unit. This reduces the chance of wildfires later in the summer when fire behavior and conditions can be more extreme. 

Because this area is sheltered from high winds and contains very sparse grass, greater wind speeds, as today, are needed to meet the requirements to implement the burn.

“To safely complete the burn, the BLM has doubled the number of firefighters and firefighting equipment on the ground and we have designated multiple locations or boundaries where we can secure the fire,” said State Director Melanie Barnes with the Bureau of Land Management – New Mexico. “There are 35 personnel monitoring this prescribed fire with a mixture of different capacity engines and utility vehicle-mounted water pumps.”

DoD and the BLM have monitored conditions hourly to make sure we are meeting prescribed parameters, and will continue until ignitions are completed, approximately 6 p.m. Coordination with DoD Range Control Safety Officer and Safety Environmental Liaison, interagency partners, and county officials will continue for several days to monitor and patrol the burn unit.

For additional information about the prescribed burn, please contact BLM Las Cruces District Fuels Specialist Ricky Cox at (575) 525-4467 or BLM Las Cruces District Fire Management Officer Mark Bernal at (575) 525-4305. Follow or follow us on Twitter at, or Facebook at for more information. 

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 western states, including Alaska, on behalf of the American people. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. Our mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.

Release Date


Bureau of Land Management


Las Cruces District Office