New Mexico and the city of Farmington have announced fire restrictions to protect communities, firefighters, first responders and natural resources.
The Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department Forestry Division has announced restrictions on fireworks, smoking, campfires and open fires on all non-municipal, non-federal and non-tribal lands statewide.
Because of warm temperatures, low humidity, high winds and an abundance of dry, fine fuels, the fire danger is increasing throughout the state. The current COVID-19 pandemic amplifies the danger by putting an additional strain on firefighting resources. The restrictions went into effect at 8 a.m. Wednesday and will remain in effect until further notice.
The Farmington Fire Department announced Thursday it will implement fire restrictions throughout the city of Farmington as a coordinated effort with the New Mexico State Forestry Division. Open burning is prohibited, including campfires. Fire pits at Lake Farmington are not available for use at the camping area. Cooking with propane, kerosene or charcoal is permitted. The fire department will not issue burn permits until further notice.
“While the Forestry Division and its local, state, federal and tribal partners across the state have COVID-19 protocols in place, an outbreak of the virus among firefighters could have a major impact on resources. Keeping wildfires from starting is the best way to prevent this and to prevent the loss of life and property,” said State Forester Laura McCarthy.
Smoking, fireworks, campfires, open burning and open fires are prohibited on non-municipal, non-federal and non-tribal lands statewide unless these conditions are met.
Smoking is prohibited except in enclosed buildings, within vehicles equipped with ashtrays and on paved or surfaced roads, developed recreation sites or while stopped in an area at least 3 feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable material.
Fireworks use is prohibited on lands covered wholly or in part in timber, brush, grass, grain or other flammable vegetation. The State Forester is allowing exceptions to the ban on fireworks where they are a part of a public exhibit approved by the local fire department.
Campfires are prohibited unless these exceptions are met: An exception is granted where cooking or heating devices 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 has a water source. New Mexico State Parks and New Mexico Department of Game and Fish lands are included in this prohibition.
For more information about New Mexico State Parks, visit www.nmparks.com.
The State Forester is also allowing exceptions for charcoal grills and wood and coal stoves within yards associated with a residence or on the premises of a business.
Open flaring of gas is prohibited. The State Forester may grant exceptions to open burning when certain conditions are met. For a list of requirements, visit https://bit.ly/3fJVulr.
The State Forester may allow additional exemptions upon receiving a written request and granting subsequent approval in writing. To apply for exemptions other than those listed, visit www.emnrd.state.nm.us/SFD/.
An exemption does not relieve a person from any civil or criminal liability associated with an uncontrolled fire, including costs associated with wildland fire suppression.
For details and the legal restriction notification, visit www.emnrd.state.nm.us/SFD/ or call (505) 476-3325. For questions about flaring, call the local New Mexico Oil Conservation Division Office in Aztec at (505) 320-0200.