(KRQE)- Headed into the holiday weekend, Santa Fe National Forest officials are concerned over careless campers.
While the U.S. Forest Service says there has been an improvement in the number of abandoned campfires discovered last weekend, officials are still worried about the Fourth of July holiday.
Santa Fe National Forest patrols discovered 45 abandoned campfires two weeks ago and they found 11 last weekend. Forest officials say they are expecting thousands of visitors to spend their four-day weekend in the forest which they say increases the risk of human-caused wildfires.
“Thanks to good moisture through the winter and into June, we are not in fire restrictions this year,” said Fire Staff Officer Lance Elmore in a press release. “But the forest can and will burn. And if your abandoned campfire causes a one-acre fire, a 100-acre fire, or a 10,000-acre fire, you have put the lives of firefighters at risk. We are asking everyone to make sure their campfires are dead out before they head for home.”
They say they’re now increasing patrols to find and douse campfires before they pose a serious threat. Fire officials urge the public to soak the flames with about five gallons of water, to stir the dirt, and to then soak the area again.
All Santa Fe National Forest offices will be closed for the Fourth of July. Offices reopen during normal business hours on Friday, July, 5.