SANTA FE, NM – New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Secretary Ken McQueen and State Forester Donald Griego today announced restrictions on fireworks, smoking, campfires and open fires on all state-owned land, as incidences of wildfires increase. Fire danger throughout the state is high due to warm temperatures, low humidity, high winds, and the abundance of dry, fine fuels. The restrictions will go into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, June 1, 2018 and remain in effect until further notice on all state lands.
"We're urging all New Mexicans to follow the restriction guidelines on state lands and to be vigilant on their own private land to help protect lives and property from wildfire in their communities," said State Forester Donald Griego. "We also encourage local municipalities and counties to consider necessary and appropriate restrictions for their area if they haven't done so already."
State Forestry will continue to coordinate with other jurisdictions including federal, counties and municipalities to ensure that appropriate protections are in place as fire danger and wildfires increase.
SMOKING, FIREWORKS, CAMPFIRES, OPEN BURNING, AND OPEN FIRES ARE PROHIBITED ON STATE- OWNED LAND UNLESS THE FOLLOWING 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 three 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 the following 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 are included in this prohibition and may have more stringent park fire restrictions in place. For more information, contact the local State Park Office or visit nmparks.com.
Flaring of natural gas is prohibited. Unless flaring is needed for safety purposes, flaring shall not be done on days that are "red flag days" as determined by the National Weather Service or on days when the sustained wind is in excess of 25 miles per hour in the area. The State Forester grants an exception to the prohibition on open fires for the flaring of natural gas when the following conditions are met:
1. The day is not a "red flag day" as determined by the National Weather Service and the sustained wind is not more than 25 miles per hour in the area.
2. The local fire department and county dispatch are notified at least 24 hours in advance of anticipated releases that will result in flaring. If flaring is done by an automated system, then the schedule of flaring shall be provided to the local fire department and county dispatch. The area is mowed and maintained at a length not to exceed 4 inches and all other flammable products or debris shall be cleared in the area for a distance of one and one-half times the height of the stack.
3. At least one adult is on site with communications equipment adequate to reach county dispatch and the local fire department in the event of a fire. The individual should also be equipped with a shovel and a water backpack pump or other equipment to deliver water to suppress a fire.
4. If flaring is to take place at an unmanned facility, then the area around the flare stack is mowed and maintained at a length not to exceed 4 inches and all other flammable products or debris shall be cleared in the area for a distance of three times the height of the stack.
Other exceptions may be requested
The State Forester may allow additional exemptions upon receiving a written request and granting subsequent approval in writing. You may apply for exemptions other than those listed above for flaring or agricultural burning on the Forestry Division website at nmforestry.com. The exemptions provided above for flaring and agricultural burning do not require written approval so long as the conditions listed are met.
The State Forester may allow exemptions from the above upon receiving a written request and granting subsequent approval in writing. You may apply for an exemption on the Forestry Division website at nmforestry.com.
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, log onto nmforestry.com or call (505) 476-3325.