One of two locks vandalized over the weekend at the Los Alamos Reservoir entrance gate. The second lock, which was completely severed has been turned over to the Los Alamos Police Department. Photo by Maire O’Neill/ladailypost.com
Los Alamos Fire Marshal Jeff Wetteland points out a Santa Fe National Forest sign, which clearly indicates that the reservoir area is closed to the public. Photo by Maire O’Neill/ladailypost.com
Los Alamos Fire Department Wildland Division Chief Kelly Sterna places additional caution tape at the reservoir entrance to discourage people from going into the area. Photo by Maire O’Neill/ladailypost.com
Vandals cut one lock on a gate and attempted to cut another over the weekend to gain access to the Los Alamos Reservoir area west of West Road, according to Los Alamos Fire Department officials.
Fire Marshal Jeff Wetteland said today that several entities are involved in managing the reservoir area, including Los Alamos County, the Department of Energy and Santa Fe National Forest.
“We feel like we have placed clear signage, but locks are actually being cut with an angle grinder. Apparently, no amount of signage will stop people like that from breaking the law and putting the forest in jeopardy,” Wetteland said.
Wetteland said both Los Alamos Police Department and LAFD are stepping up patrols of the entrances to restricted areas and that LAPD is investigating the cutting of the locks.
The County, Los Alamos National Laboratory and Santa Fe National Forest implemented Stage III restrictions June 1 due to extreme drought and high fire danger. Those restrictions will remain in effect until significant moisture is experienced and conditions have improved.
A hiker posted a photo on social media May 29, depicting a car and a truck on the road to the reservoir despite the fact that the gate was locked.
LAFD Wildland Division Chief Kelly Sterna said that signs posted by Santa Fe National Forest at the entrance indicate that violators of the current restrictions face up to a $5,000 fine and/or up to six months in jail for the offense, which is a Class B misdemeanor.
Anyone with any information this the incident can contact LAPD Dispatch at 505.662.8222 or LAFD at 505.662.8301.
A Santa Fe National Forest sign at the entrance gate to the reservoir area, which includes the legal consequences for violating the Stage III fire restrictions. Photo by Maire O’Neill/ladailypost.com
A May 29 photo of two vehicles on the dirt road to the reservoir even though the gate was locked. The photo seems to show a man getting his fishing rod ready to use. Courtesy photo