SANTA FE – Due to current dry conditions and anticipated low moisture levels in weather forecasts, the Santa Fe National Forest will implement forest-wide Stage I fire restrictions effective 8 a.m. Friday, April 13.
Under Stage I restrictions, fires, campfires, charcoal grills and coal and wood stoves are allowed only in developed campsites or picnic areas where agency-built fire rings or grills are provided for use.
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 prohibited on all national forests.
“We ask the public to help protect our forests by being aware of the stage one restrictions and help prevent forest fires,” said Joe Norrell, deputy forest supervisor. “Saturday, an abandoned campfire on the Pecos Ranger District burned 36 acres before fully contained Tuesday morning. To help prevent such instances, we will be increasing patrols during restrictions to increase public awareness and to monitor the forest.”
The Stage I fire restrictions will remain in effect across the Santa Fe National Forest until Dec. 31 or until rescinded, whichever occurs first.
“We want the public to know they can still enjoy the forest while in stage one fire restrictions,” Norrell said. “We will continue to monitor conditions and lift restrictions as soon as we know it is appropriate to do so.”
Stage I fire restrictions are intended to enhance public safety, protect natural and cultural resources, and help prevent human-caused fires. Several criteria are used to determine when to implement fire restrictions, including fire activity levels, current and predicted weather, fuel moisture, and the availability of firefighting resources. Additional restrictions may be required if conditions warrant.
Forest officials would like to remind visitors to use extra caution when recreating on all public lands throughout the fire season. 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, or both.
For more information, contact the Santa Fe National Forest Public Affairs Office: 505.438.5320 or 505.438.5321.