SANTA FE — The Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) is implementing Stage 1 fire restrictions to reduce the risk of human-caused wildfire during extreme drought conditions, historically low fuel moisture levels and very high fire danger.
The Stage 1 restrictions went into effect forest-wide at 6 a.m. Friday, Oct. 23.
The Carson National Forest and the Mount Taylor, Magdalena, Mountainair and Sandia Ranger Districts on the Cibola National Forest also entered Stage 1 fire restrictions Friday, an indication of the widespread risk of unseasonal wildfires across northern New Mexico.
Under Stage 1 restrictions, fires, campfires, charcoal grills, and coal and wood stoves are allowed only in Forest Service-built fire rings or grills provided for use at developed campgrounds and picnic areas. Visitors should check the status of developed recreation sites since many of them will be closed for the winter season. Campfires are prohibited at all dispersed camping sites.
Stoves, grills, lanterns and heaters fueled by propane or other liquified petroleum fuels may be used if they meet manufacturer’s safety specifications and have on/off switches. Propane devices require an area at least 3 feet in diameter that has been cleared of flammable materials.
Smoking is allowed only in enclosed vehicles or buildings, at developed recreation sites or while standing in an area at least 3 feet in diameter that has been cleared of all flammable material. Fireworks and other pyrotechnic devices are always prohibited on national forests.
While the SFNF is still welcoming visitors, including hunters, fire danger is unusually high for this time of year and COVID-19 has added another layer of complexity. The Stage 1 fire restrictions are a proactive way to reduce the very real risk of human-caused wildfire, protect natural and cultural resources, and enhance public and firefighter safety.
Federal, state and local officers, members of an organized rescue team or firefighting force, and any others authorized by permit are exempt from the closure order.
Forest visitors are asked to use extreme caution when fire restrictions are in place. Violations are punishable as a Class B misdemeanor by a fine of not more than $5,000 for individuals and $10,000 for organizations and/or by imprisonment for not more than six months. The fire restrictions are in place until Dec. 31, 2020, unless rescinded earlier. Fire prevention and law enforcement will be patrolling, and anyone who violates Stage 1 restrictions will be ticketed.
The order imposing fire restrictions this Friday is posted under Alerts and Notices on the Santa Fe National Forest website. Stay up to date on closures and other news by checking the SFNF website and following us on Facebook and Twitter.