Additional fire restrictions possible for county

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By Gabriel Vasquez

Because of increasing temperatures and dry conditions, fire restrictions may go into effect in Los Alamos County as soon as next week.

Special permits for open burning are already being negated to area businesses and other local organizations.

“Sometime next week I imagine you’ll see restrictions in this area,” said Doug Tucker, deputy fire chief for Los Alamos County. “When fuel moistures start getting really low, that’s usually our indication to start imposing those restrictions.”

Fuel moistures are assessed by estimating the moisture level of the vegetation in a selected area. The more water in the vegetation, the more heat will be required to evaporate before ignition can occur. Less moisture in the vegetation requires less heat, and thus creates more rapid burning conditions.

“While the fire danger in northwest New Mexico has been much lighter this year than in the rest of the state, continued lack of moisture is quickly drying out fuels so we may see incidents of fire increase until monsoonal moisture returns to the state,” said Dan Ware, spokesman for the New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department.

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