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Bandelier National Monument has gone into Stage II fire restrictions starting today.
Stage II restrictions include barring the use of campfires, charcoal fires and puts a damper on smoking in areas other than those specifically designated around the monument.
Moving up to Stage II restrictions came as little surprise considering recent hot, dry weather and fire potential in and around the Jemez Mountains.
“We have had another dry winter and spring, and fire danger is extreme. Everyone has seen the results of these conditions, both in the Las Conchas Fire last summer and the numerous large fires in the West this year,” Bandelier’s fire management officer Gary Kemp said in a press release announcing the restrictions. “We ask everyone to be careful throughout this very dry time of year. Nobody wants to deal with another huge wildfire.”
Smoking must be confined to the main parking lot and paved portions of roads in Juniper Campground, according to the press release.
While no open fires are allowed at Bandelier, it is still OK for monument visitors to use petroleum-fueled stoves for cooking as long as it’s done in cleared areas.
Much of statewide land is currently under some sort of fire restrictions.
Bandelier superintendent Jason Lott said there are several factors that go into determining what type of fire restrictions might be necessary at any given time, some based on moisture measurements by scientists and others based on observations and prevailing weather. More severe conditions can call for Stage III or Stage IV restrictions.
Despite heightened fire danger, Lott said there shouldn’t be much of an effect on camping traffic.
“Last year, we were in Stage IV restrictions, which means people couldn’t go into the backcountry, and when we did evacuations for the Las Conchas fire, our campgrounds were full,” he said.
The heightened restrictions should have no effect on any of Bandelier’s schedule of upcoming events, Lott said.