Prescribed fire– the practice of setting small burns in an ecosystem to clear it of overgrowth– is widely considered a safe method of maintaining forest health and a critical tool for preparing the southwest for a hotter and drier future. But in April of 2022, a prescribed burn set by the National Forest Service in the mountains of northern New Mexico escaped its firelines and spiraled out of control to become the largest wildfire in the state’s history. Mora and San Miguel counties– made up of rural, traditionally Hispanic communities who have built their lives around this land for generations– were hit the hardest.

“New Mexico Fire Project” (temp title) explores the lasting impacts of this historic incident. Through the perspectives of both the Forest Service and the local community members, we explore the future of fire in New Mexico and document efforts to heal, protect, and care for the land.

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