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Safety is key to enjoying the forest during fire restrictions

By SFNF

Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) officials urge the public to be safe over Memorial Day weekend by practicing good fire prevention, especially during Stage 2 fire restrictions.

The SFNF entered forest wide Stage 2 fire restrictions on May 7, and will remain in Stage 2 until conditions dictate a need for any changes to the restriction order, which is located in the following web link:  https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fseprd579371.pdf.

“We need a lot more rain than what we received to reduce the fire danger levels across the forest,” said Lance Elmore, fire management officer.  “Forest personnel are making concerted efforts to ensure the public is aware of the importance to adhere to the restrictions.  Public compliance with the restrictions is one of the key criteria used when deciding whether or not to enter into forest closures. Conditions are closely monitored by forest personnel, and if conditions worsen as forecasted, may lead to closure of the forest. ”

“Campfires, for example, are prohibited,” said Elmore. “But reasonable alternatives to campfires exist, such as the use of petroleum-fueled stoves, lanterns and heaters that possess on and off switches, and meet the fire underwriter’s specifications for safety.  As long as all the restrictions are adhered to, and people are responsible, the public can enjoy the forest even during Stage 2 fire restrictions.”

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: 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. Alerts via Facebook: www.facebook.com/santafeNFand Twitter: @SantafeNF.

For more information, call the Santa Fe National Forest Supervisors Office at (505) 438-5300.

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