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Forest Increases Public Engagement to Prevent Fires

By SFNF

Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) personnel will engage the public more often than usual to increase fire prevention awareness and reduce the chances for wildfires while in Stage 2 fire restrictions.

The Stage 2 fire restrictions went into effect across the forest on May 7, and will remain until conditions allow forest officials to change or lift the restrictions.

“We’re making a concerted effort on the forest to make sure as much of the public as possible is aware of, and understands, the restrictions we have in place,” said James Melonas, forest supervisor.  “We use Twitter and Facebook as our primary social media platforms, and we encourage the public to follow us on both to receive alerts.  We are also increasing patrols throughout the forest, as well as at nightfall when people setup camp.”

“In particular, we want to make certain the public knows that campfires are prohibited in Stage 2, because that seems to be a violation we deal with more often than some of the others,” he said.

Fire restrictions 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.

Any violation of the prohibition is punishable by a fine of not more than $5,000 for individuals and $10,000 for organizations and/or imprisonment for not more than six months.  For more information, see the official closure order here: https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fseprd579371.pdf

Know before you go. Fire restrictions in New Mexico can be found at https://firerestrictions.us/nm/ and fire updates are posted on the New Mexico Fire Information website at www.nmfireinfo.com.  Facebook: www.facebook.com/santafeNF,  Twitter: @SantafeNF.

For more information, contact the Santa Fe National Forest Public Affairs Office: (505) 438-5320 or (505) 438-5321.

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