CAUTION: Fire Danger is Very High! Courtesy image
SANTA FE ― The Santa Fe National Forest will implement campfire and smoking restrictions effective 8 a.m. today.
Fire danger on the forest remains very high due to continued high temperatures and dry conditions accompanying the delayed onset of the monsoon season.
Under Stage I restrictions, fires, campfires, charcoal grills, and coal and wood stoves are allowed only in developed campsites or picnic areas with existing fire rings or grills. Campfires are prohibited at all dispersed camping sites. Stoves, lanterns or heaters fueled by propane or other liquefied petroleum fuels may be used in areas cleared of flammable materials within three feet of the device if they meet manufacturer’s safety specifications and have on/off switches.
Smoking is allowed only in enclosed vehicles or buildings and developed recreation sites. Fireworks are always banned on National Forest System lands.
Stage I fire restrictions are intended to enhance public safety, protect natural and cultural resources, and help prevent human-caused fires.
“Visitors are still welcome on the Forest, and local businesses are still open for business,” Forest Supervisor Maria T. Garcia said. “We are taking this precautionary measure because many areas of the Forest are experiencing record dryness and we are seeing a significant increase in the number of abandoned and unattended campfires this year.” Abandoned campfires are the leading human cause of wildfire.
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.
Forest managers use several criteria to determine when to implement restrictions, including current and predicted weather, fuel moisture, fire activity levels and available firefighting resources. Additional restrictions may be applied if conditions warrant it. This order will be in effect until Dec. 31, 2016, unless forest managers rescind it earlier. Fire restrictions may be lifted when the monsoon season arrives, depending on moisture levels and other conditions.
The order imposing fire restrictions this Friday is posted under Alerts and Notices on the Santa Fe National Forest website. The Santa Fe National Forest’s definitions of fire restrictions can be found at http://1.usa.gov/28Oa4rI.