SFNF Implements Stage 1 Fire Restrictions Across Entire Forest

SANTA FE, NM – June 21, 2017 – For Immediate Release.  The Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) will implement forest-wide Stage 1 fire restrictions at 8:00 a.m. this Friday, June 23, 2017.  Fire danger on the forest remains high due to continued high temperatures and dry conditions.

The Jemez Ranger District, where the 1,412-acre Cajete Fire sparked last week from an abandoned campfire near Sierra de los Pinos, went into Stage 1 restrictions last Friday. After conferring with fire managers from other ranger districts on the forest, SFNF leadership decided to extend the campfire and smoking restrictions to the entire forest.  Abandoned/unattended campfires are the leading cause of human-caused wildfires, and SFNF fire prevention officers have encountered an unusually high number of them this spring.

Under Stage I restrictions, fires, campfires, charcoal grills, and coal and wood stoves are allowed only in developed campsites or picnic areas with existing fire rings or grills. Campfires are prohibited at all dispersed camping sites. Stoves, lanterns or heaters fueled by propane or other liquefied petroleum fuels may be used in areas cleared of flammable materials within three feet of the device if they meet manufacturer’s safety specifications and have on/off switches.

Smoking is allowed only in enclosed vehicles or buildings and developed recreation sites. Fireworks are always banned on National Forest System lands. Fireworks and other pyrotechnic devices are always prohibited on National Forests, regardless of weather conditions or holidays.

Stage 1 fire restrictions are intended to enhance public safety, protect natural and cultural resources, and help prevent human-caused fires.  “We are still welcoming visitors to the Santa Fe National Forest,” Forest Supervisor James Melonas said.  “But since this fire season is starting out with record high temperatures and very little moisture, we believe it’s prudent to impose some restrictions on where you can and cannot build a campfire.”

Forest visitors are asked to use extreme caution when fire restrictions are in place. Violations 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, including current and predicted weather, fuel moisture, fire activity levels and available firefighting resources. Additional restrictions may be applied if conditions warrant it.  This order will be in effect until Dec. 31, 2017, unless forest managers rescind it earlier.  Fire restrictions may be lifted when the monsoon season arrives, depending on moisture levels and other conditions.

The order imposing fire restrictions this Friday is posted under Alerts and Notices on the Santa Fe National Forest website. The Santa Fe National Forest’s definitions of fire restrictions can be found at http://1.usa.gov/28Oa4rI.

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