LAFD issues Stage 1 fire restrictions

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Los Alamos County announced Thursday morning it is under Stage I fire restrictions, effectively immediately.

"When we implement Stage 1 restrictions, what we're looking to do is try and get ahead of the fire season a little bit,” Los Alamos Fire Department’s deputy chief Justin Grider said.

“"Even though we got cloudy skies right now and relative humidity...next week it's expected to dry out and be a little bit more windier and a lot warmer, and we'll be back to very high to extreme fire conditions next week and into the weeks after."

According to a release from the county, the following acts are prohibited until further notice:

Building, maintaining, attending or using an open fire, campfire, charcoal or wood stove on all Los Alamos County lands. (See Exemption 1)

Smoking is prohibited except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site, or while stopped in an area at least 3-feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable materials.

Stage I Exemptions:

Developed campgrounds with metal grills using charcoal or propane are acceptable on North Mesa campgrounds, at Overlook Park and at any park within the Los Alamos County proper, to also include all residential property within Los Alamos County. The Los Alamos County Fire Department urges the public to take every precaution necessary on all properties to prevent a fire.

Persons with a written permit from the State Foresty Office (505-476-3353) that specifically authorizes the otherwise prohibited act.

Persons using a device solely fueled by liquid petroleum or LPG fuels that can be turned on and off. Such devices can only be used in an area that is barren or cleared of all overhead and surrounding flammable materials within 3 feet of the device.

Any Federal, State, or local officer or member of an organized rescue or firefighting force in the performance of an official duty.

An exemption does not absolve an individual or organization from liability or responsibility for any fire started by the exempted activity.

Baseline Restrictions:

Fireworks and incendiary devices are never allowed on federal public lands.

National Parks, Monuments, Preserves and Wildlife Refuges host year round fire restrictions. Contact Bandelier National Park and Valles Caldera if you plan to visit for specific restrictions.

Follow the USFS and NM State Forestry Restrictions when outside of the municipality of Los Alamos. Visit www.nmforestry.com or firerestrictions.us for more information.

Santa Fe County, meanwhile, has issued an emergency ordinance declaring hazardous fire conditions and imposing restrictions.

Open fires, the burning of trash or vegetation and throwing cigarettes out a vehicle window are prohibited under the restrictions. Smoking is also limited to certain locations.

Authorities say violators can face a fine up to $300 or 90 days in jail.

Fire Chief David Sperling says that in the past, Santa Fe County hasn't considered burn restrictions until the summer months, but limited snowfall, little rain and constant winds have combined to increase the fire danger.

County officials say any open burn permits that were issued for the next 30 days are now void under the restrictions. Residents can apply for a new permit once the restrictions have been lifted.