Stage 2 fire restrictions to be in place Monday

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LAFD: High temps, low humidity increase danger

Beginning at 8 a.m. Monday, the Santa Fe National Forest, Valles Caldera National Preserve, and NM State Game & Fish properties will enter Stage 2 Fire Restrictions due to the potential for extreme fire danger.

The restrictions apply to all National Forest System lands within the Santa Fe National Forest and Valles Caldera National Preserve.

“Prolonged high temperatures, low humidity, and current fire activity have really increased the potential for extreme fire danger on the Forest,” said Bruce Hill, Santa Fe National Forest Public Affairs Officer. “We’ve also unfortunately seen a high number of abandoned camp fires already this year even while in Stage 1 Fire Restrictions. We need to take added precautions under these conditions to reduce risk to the public, and cultural and natural resources by going into Stage 2.”

Second level (Stage 2) restrictions prohibit campfires on Forest Service land with the only exception being the use of petroleum-fueled stoves, lanterns, propane grills, or heating devices that meet the fire underwriter’s specification for safety. Smoking is prohibited except within an enclosed vehicle or building. Possessing, discharging or using any kind of fire work or other pyrotechnic device is also prohibited.

Prohibitions include operating a chainsaw, or other equipment powered by an internal combustion engine from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Welding or operating acetylene or other torch with open flame, operating or using any internal combustion engine without a spark arresting device properly installed, maintained, and in effective working order meeting either Department of Agriculture, Forest Service Standards or appropriate Society of Automotive Engineers recommended practice. Possessing or using a motor vehicle off National Forest System roads, except within parking in an area devoid of vegetation within 10 feet of the roadway: and except for parking overnight in Forest Service developed campgrounds and trailheads.

Violations of these restrictions on Forest Service lands are punishable by a fine of not more than $5,000 for individuals and $10,000 for organizations and/or imprisonment for not more than six months. The restriction order will remain in effect until October 31 or until rescinded, whichever occurs first.

LA County Fire Marshal Brian Nickerson said in an email that Camp May and North Mesa Picnic Area are completely restricted from using any open flame to include grills, fire rings or pits. The only type of cooking device being allowed at this time and is subject to change at any time in these two areas are a Coleman-type propane grills top similar to a stove top device that have no open flame associated with the grill and must be used in a barren area.

“We will be allowing at this time and subject to change at any time the following: Urban Park, Rover Park, East Road Camp area is open to use the grills that are onsite only and no other material and devices are to be used. Caution should be used when disposing of any ashes associated with these devises. Water source should be kept close by for use and people are urged to call 911 for any minor event or small fire to ensure the safety and welfare of all,” Nickerson wrote.