SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – To reduce the risk of human-caused wildfire during extreme drought conditions, starting on Monday, May 24, the Santa Fe National Forest and the Carson National Forest will implement Stage 1 Fire Restrictions. According to a press release from SFNF, the restrictions are meant to reduce the risk of human-caused wildfire, protect natural, and cultural resources, and increase the safety of the public and firefighters.

Fires, campfires, charcoal grills, and coal and wood stoves are only allowed in developed campsites or picnic areas with Forest Service-built fire rings or grills under Stage 1 restrictions. Campfires are not allowed at all dispersed camping sites.

Forest Service officials report that stoves, grills, lanterns, and heaters fueled by propane or liquified petroleum fuels can only be used if they meet the manufacturer’s safety specifications and have on and off switches. Propane devices must be in an area at least three feet in diameter that has been cleared of flammable materials.

Smoking is only allowed in enclosed vehicles or buildings, at developed recreation sites, or while standing in an area that is at least three feet in diameter that has been cleared of all flammable materials. Pyrotechnic devices and all fireworks are always prohibited in national forests.

Those who visit national forests are urged to use extreme caution when fire restrictions are in place. Violations of the restrictions are punishable as a Class B misdemeanor by a fine of up to $5,000 for individuals and $10,000 for organizations. Violators can also face six months imprisonment. The Forest Service states that fire prevention and law enforcement will be patrolling and those who violate restrictions will be ticketed.