The Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) remains in full forest closure due to high fire danger, but anticipated rains could lift the closure order sooner than later.
“With the current humidity levels and favorable monsoon forecast, I’m optimistic we’ll lift closures fairly soon,” said James Melonas, forest supervisor. “We’re working in close coordination with other northern New Mexico forests to be consistent in our approach, and to open the forests for the enjoyment of visitors as soon as it is safe to do so.”
Another key component in lifting forest closure is public compliance with the closure order.
“We monitor forecasts and forest conditions daily, but we also look at public compliance because humans can be a significant wildfire risk,” said Terrence Gallegos, acting deputy fire staff officer. “We experienced a remarkable month in June with no human-caused wildfires on the Santa Fe. That’s remarkable and worthy of praise.”
The SFNF entered into full forest closure on June 1 for public safety and forest health reasons due to high to extreme fire danger. The closure order prohibits public access. County and state roads that cross Forest Service lands are not under USDA Forest Service jurisdiction and remain open to vehicular traffic. Area businesses remain open during the closure.
Violations of the SFNF closure order carry a mandatory appearance in federal court and 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.
Forest managers use several criteria to determine when to implement restrictions or closure, including fuel moistures, current and predicted weather, values at risk from wildfire, fire activity levels and available firefighting resources.
The SFNF closure order is posted under Alerts and Notices on the SFNF website. 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.
For more information on the SFNF, go to www.fs.usda.gov/santafe/, Twitter: @SantaFeNF,