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SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico officials are expanding restrictions on fireworks, smoking, campfires and other open fires to all of the state's 33 counties.
State Forester Tony Delfin and New Mexico Energy Secretary John Bemis announced the additional restrictions Thursday. They will go into effect Friday morning.
State restrictions were first enacted in April and included 29 counties where fire danger was highest.
San Juan, Rio Arriba, Taos, Los Alamos and western Colfax Counties weren't included in the original restriction order because those areas had received winter moisture and weren't experiencing high incidence of wildfire.
The restrictions are being expanded due to prolonged drought conditions statewide and high winds.
Bemis says portions of New Mexico have gone months without significant rainfall and as summer progresses, the risk to communities from wildfire is increasing.
Santa Fe National Forest Supervisor Maria Garcia and Valles Caldera Preserve Interim Executive Director Dennis Trujillo announce Stage III fire restrictions for the Santa Fe National Forest and Valles Caldera National Preserve beginning at 8:00 a.m. on Friday, June 24, 2011.
“We have been monitoring conditions closely and based on current and forecasted weather, prolonged drought conditions, fire danger, and fuel moisture content, it is necessary to impose further restrictions to provide added protection for the public and natural and cultural resources,” said Garcia.
Although some Forest and Preserve areas will be off-limits, other areas and local business will remain open. “Recreation opportunities are available and the public is invited to come out and responsibly enjoy their public lands,” added Trujillo.
It is important to remember that although restrictions are in place not everyone to adhere to them. No matter what criteria are used to implement fire restrictions not all fires can be prevented. There is always a chance of a fire in this ecosystem, whether it is a human or natural ignition. “We live in the Southwest and fire lives with us,” concluded forest spokesperson, Lawrence Lujan.
Under Stage III fire restrictions, all areas of the Forest and Preserve are restricted/off-limits to all use and access unless specifically listed as open. Open areas will remain under Stage II fire restrictions. Specific information for Stage II and Stage III restrictions are list below.
Coyote Ranger District
All National Forest System lands within the Coyote Ranger District in Rio Arriba County will remain open under Stage II Fire Restrictions. See the Stage II Order below.
Local businesses within or around the Coyote Ranger District along NM 96 are OPEN for business. For additional information regarding fire restrictions on the Coyote Ranger District, please call (575) 289-3264.
Cuba Ranger District
All National Forest System lands within the Cuba Ranger District in Sandoval and Rio Arriba County are restricted/off-limits except for the open areas listed below. The areas listed below will remain open under Stage II Fire Restrictions.
Areas north of State Highway 126 with the exception of the area north of State Highway 126, south of Eureka Mesa and west of Forest Road 126S to the forest boundary
San Pedro Parks Wilderness, Clear Creek and Rio de las Vacas Campgrounds
Clear Creek Day Use Picnic Area
Local businesses within or around the Cuba Ranger District along State Highway 126 are OPEN for business. For a list of businesses, local attractions and activities for the Cuba area visit: http://www.cubanewmexico.com/. For additional information regarding fire restrictions on the Cuba Ranger District, please call (575) 289-3264.
Jemez Ranger District
All National Forest System lands within the Jemez Ranger District in Sandoval County are restricted/off-limits except for the open areas listed below. The areas listed below will remain open under Stage II Fire Restrictions.
Fishing is only allowed 75 feet on either side of the San Antonio and Jemez River from La Cueva Picnic Area South to La Junta Fishing Access
La Junta Fishing Access
Las Casitas Fishing Access
San Diego Fishing Access
River's Bend Fishing Access
Vista Linda Campground
Spanish Queen Picnic Area
The Bluffs Fishing Access
Battleship Rock Picnic Area
Rincon Fishing Access
Spence Hot Springs and the access trail from Hwy 4 (about 0.25 miles)
Dark Canyon Fishing Access
La Cueva Picnic Area
San Antonio Campground
San Diego Overlook
Jemez Falls Campground, Jemez Falls Group Area (reservation required), Jemez Falls Trail head and trail to Jemez Falls (less than 0.5 miles)
Las Conchas Picnic Area
Sandoval County Solid Waste Transfer Station Special Use Permit site (in Cañon)
Forest Road 106 to Thompson Ridge Estates, Forest Road 105 to Sulphur Springs residential area, Forest Road 10 from Highway 4 to Sierra De Los Pinos residential development and Forest Road 134 to Vallecitos de Los Indios residential development
Local businesses within or around the Jemez Ranger District along NM 4 and 126 are OPEN for business. Fenton Lake State Park located off of NM 126 is also open. For a list of businesses, local attractions and activities for the Jemez area visit: http://www.jemezsprings.org/. For additional information regarding fire restrictions on the Jemez Ranger District, please call (575) 289-3264.
Pecos/Las Vegas Ranger District
All National Forest System lands within the Pecos/Las Vegas Ranger District in Santa Fe, San Miguel and Mora Counties are restricted/off-limits except for the areas listed below. The areas listed below will remain open under Stage II Fire Restrictions.
Jacks Creek, Field Tract, Cowles, El Porvenir and EV Long Campgrounds
Dalton Day Use Area (off State Road 63 to the right)
Windy Bridge Picnic Day Use Area
Fishing is allowed 75 feet on either side of the Pecos River and 120 feet up and downstream from the Windy Bridge Picnic Day Use Area and Dalton Day Use Area.
El Pueblo/Anton Chico