A statewide burn ban has been issued to New Mexico’s 33 counties restrict[auth] ing smoking, fireworks, campfires, open burning and open fires. The ban, which became effective June 12, was issued by the New Mexico State Forestry Division.
A press release from the division notes that “due to abnormally warm temperatures, low humidity, high wind, and the abundance of dry, fine fuels, fire danger throughout much of central and western New Mexico is high.” Additionally, the ban is in response to fire activity in the Gila National Forrest and the Ruidoso area, caused by the Little Bear fire.
The following restrictions have been placed on non-municipal, non-federal, and non-tribal lands statewide:
•Smoking is prohibited except in enclosed buildings, within vehicles equipped with ashtrays, on paved or surfaced roads, developed recreation sites, or while stopped at a barren area that is at least three feet in diameter.
•Fireworks are prohibited in wildland areas. The state forester is allowing exceptions when the fireworks are part of a public exhibit approved by the local fire department.
•Campfires are prohibited except for cooking or heating devices that use kerosene, white gas, or propane as a fuel in an improved camping area that is cleared of flammable vegetation for at least 30 feet, or that has a water source. The state forester is also allowing exceptions for charcoal grills and wood and coal stoves within a residence’s yard or on the premises of a business.
•Open burning is prohibited except for areas where the cropland is irrigated, if burning is done with adequate planning, and adequate personnel are present to monitor and control the burn. The burn area must also be secured from becoming uncontrolled at the end of day. Chaves County Fire Services Administrator Georgianna Hunt said the county requests that any individuals who are going to perform a controlled burn, after receiving an exemption from the state forester, notify the county’s consolidated dispatch center to advise who they are, where the burn will be located, how it will be controlled, when they’re going to start and when they’re going to stop. Hunt emphasized the burn must be monitored and controlled at all times.
•Flaring of gas is prohibited except on open fires for the flaring of natural gas. Flaring must not occur on “red flag days,” as determined by the National Weather Service, and when sustained winds in the area are greater than 25 mph.
Exemptions do not relieve any individual from any civil or criminal liability associated with an uncontrolled fire.
For more information on the ban or to submit a request for an exemption visit nmforestry.com. To notify the Chaves County Dispatch Center of an approved controlled burn call 624-7590.