TIJERAS, N.M. (KRQE) - You know the fire danger is high, and there are already tight fire restrictions in the Sandia and Manzano mountains.
But in a week and a half you won't even be allowed in the Sandia and Mountainair ranger districts at all.
That means no camping driving or hiking, and, the U.S. Forest Service hopes, no fires.
Still, Friday was going to be a long day for four firefighters from Montana.
Brett Malingo and his buddies were out on the trails in East Mountains keeping the Sandias safe.
Every year they come here to keep campers and hikers following the rules, which include no barbecue grill fires.
"I would say 85 percent do a really good job. We had a couple of issues a week ago," Malingo said.
And that's the problem. Illegal fires could start a wicked wildfire at any moment. In his four years on those trails he's never seen the Sandias so dry.
"With the wind today, a small fire, a camp fire getting away, it could be--honestly, it could take the whole crest down in a matter of days," Malingo said.
Starting June 10 the fire danger will be elevated to extreme and a closure order carrying criminal penalties and banning public access to the forests will go into effect.
"People are warned now," Karen Takei of the Forest Service said. "People have been watching TV and radio. They know the conditions out here. Don't challenge that rule or regulation. We will be enforcing it."
Rangers say the forests will stay closed until they get good soaking rains, and that could be more than a month.
The only areas of the national forest that will be open include the area right around the Sandia Peak tram and Trail 365 in the foothills.
The closure does not affect the open space areas that are part of Albuquerque and Bernalillo County, which are under separate fire restrictions but remain open.
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