Forest Service Plea To Visitors: Put Out Your Campfire

SFNF News:
SANTA FE  For the second weekend in a row, irresponsible campers left multiple unattended and abandoned campfires on the Jemez Ranger District of the Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF). 
Luckily, 11 still-burning campfires were discovered and extinguished before they could spark or spread.
But with the fire danger level on the SFNF at HIGH and most of northern and central New Mexico under a fire weather watch, it takes very little for a campfire to become a human-caused wildfire, putting lives and property at unnecessary risk. 
Current conditions include temperatures above normal, very low humidity and strong, gusty winds.Combine that with human negligence, and you have the formula for a potentially severe wildfire. 
“As we enter the 2017 fire season, we are asking everyone to remember that the Forest Service and our cooperators have a finite number of fire personnel and equipment,” SFNF Forest Supervisor James Melonas said. “When we have to use those valuable resources to fight human-caused fires, we impact our ability to fight the fires we cannot prevent, the lightning-caused fires that we see every year.”
Violators of regulations that prohibit abandoning a campfire are subject to a fine and/or imprisonment. If the abandoned campfire causes a wildfire, violators can also be charged with felony arson and held responsible for fire suppression costs. 
Visitors to national forests are asked to follow campfire safety procedures ( to prevent wildfire and ensure public safety.
  • Bring a shovel and plenty of water to make sure you can put your campfire completely out.
  • Build campfires away from overhanging branches, steep slopes, rotten stumps, logs, dry grass and leaves. 
  • It’s always preferable to use an existing fire ring or a rock-ringed fire pit. Clear all flammable material at least five feet away from the fire in all directions.
  • Don’t build a campfire on a windy day.
  • Building and maintaining campfires should always be done under adult supervision.
  • Never leave a campfire unattended, even for a few minutes.
  • Use dry wood no bigger than the fire ring or pit.
  • Extinguish your campfire before you call it a night and crawl into your sleeping bag.
  • To completely extinguish a campfire, pour water on the embers until the hissing and steaming stops. Then use the shovel to mix dirt and water with the ashes until what remains of your fire is cold to the touch of a bare hand.
  • Don’t cover the ashes with rocks to extinguish your fire. Rocks can hold heat and create a funnel for air to reignite the coals.
  • Don’t head for home until you are sure your campfire is DEAD OUT. If it’s too hot to touch, it’s too hot to leave.
  • If you discover an unattended fire, use 911 to report it and do what you can to put it out. Report suspicious smoke.