Beginning at 8 a.m. June 24, Stage III Fire Restrictions are in effect for Bandelier National Monument and will remain in effect until further notice.
This restriction is a result of high fire danger, low fuel moistures, and regional fire preparedness level. For Bandelier National Monument, Stage III Fire Restrictions only add a prohibition on camping in the canyon bottom zones in Bandelier’s backcountry.
Other Stage II Restrictions still in effect are: prohibition on the use of campfires or charcoal grills (gas grills may be used), and all outdoor smoking with the exception of inside vehicles or in the designated smoking area in the parking island in Frijoles Canyon.
Stage III Fire Restrictions will not result in Bandelier trail closures at this time. The United States Forest Service will close Forest Road 289 limiting access to some trailheads in Bandelier. Bandelier staff has chosen to prohibit camping in canyon bottoms because these areas have high fuel loads due to nearby water sources. Visitors can still camp on the mesa tops in the backcountry. “Bandelier is open and we encourage visitors to continue to enjoy our trails and backcountry while being fire safe,” Park Superintendent Jason Lott said.
Bandelier’s Fire Management Officer Gary Kemp said Bandelier typically follows similar fire restrictions and closures the Forest Service sets for the Santa Fe National Forest.
“However, because of the Las Conchas burn scar, the fuel load in Bandelier is greatly reduced and the chance of catastrophic fire is lower compared to the Santa Fe National Forest,” he said
Kemp suggests that when visiting Bandelier, all visitors pay attention to weather, specifically lightening, and be prepared in case a fire starts in the backcountry.