Carson National Forest to Implement Stage 1 Fire Restrictions May 24

Extreme Drought and Dry Conditions Persist

Taos, NM – May 14, 2021 –The Carson National Forest will implement Stage 1 fire restrictions forest-wide on Monday, May 24, to reduce the risk of human-caused wildfire during extreme drought conditions, historically low fuel moisture levels and high fire danger.

Stage 1 fire restrictions are a proactive way to reduce the very real risk of human-caused wildfire, protect natural and cultural resources, and enhance public and firefighter safety. The Lincoln and Gila national forests implemented Stage 1 fire restrictions in April, and the Santa Fe National Forest plans to implement Stage 1 restrictions the same day as the Carson.

Under Stage 1 restrictions, fires, campfires, charcoal grills, and coal and wood stoves are allowed only in developed campsites or picnic areas with Forest Service-built fire rings or grills.  Campfires are prohibited at all dispersed camping sites.

Stoves, grills, lanterns and heaters fueled by propane or other liquified petroleum fuels may be used if they meet manufacturer’s safety specifications and have on/off switches. Propane devices require an area at least 3 feet in diameter that has been cleared of flammable materials.

Smoking is allowed only in enclosed vehicles or buildings, at developed recreation sites or while standing in an area at least 3 feet in diameter that has been cleared of all flammable material. Fireworks and other pyrotechnic devices are always prohibited on national forests.

“We invite the public to enjoy all that the Carson National Forest has to offer,” Forest Supervisor James Duran said. “But we also know that abandoned or unattended campfires are the leading human cause of wildfire. Our fire managers are measuring fuel moisture levels that we typically don’t see until mid-summer. Going into Stage 1 fire restrictions will help us to lessen the risk of a human-caused wildfire on the Carson.”

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. Fire staff are already considering the possibility of moving to Stage 2 fire restrictions, which ban campfires entirely, if conditions warrant it.

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. Fire prevention and law enforcement will be patrolling, and anyone who violates Stage 1 restrictions will be ticketed.

For the latest information on fire restrictions, view the new mapping tool or check NM Fire Info or the Carson National Forest website. Don’t forget to follow the Carson National Forest of Facebook and Twitter.

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