NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – Due to all this recent rain, national forests around New Mexico are opening back up. The Valles Caldera, Lincoln, Cibola, Santa Fe, and Carson National Forests announced that their tough restrictions will be lifted by 8 a.m. Friday.
“As we begin to get rainfall come monsoon season like we’ve seen over the last couple of weeks we see the soil get moist again we see the trees and the vegetation in the forest begin to absorb that moisture. That is really what lowers our fire risk,” Laura Rabon, Public Affairs Officer for the Lincoln National Forest told KRQE News 13.
Officials closed forest access to the public a month ago because of dry conditions and high fire danger. Early monsoons have now allowed most forest lands in the state to reopen. This does not include areas affected by wildfires, including the Cerro Pelado Fire in the Jemez, the Hermits Peak Calf Canyon fires and the Cooks Peak fire.
Over the last month, the Lincoln National Forest saw an average of 4 inches of rain with some areas seeing up to 5 making fire danger there “moderate.” Those who live in Tijeras say they are excited for trails to reopen.
“Those who live in the area know the dangers and we know how much it has rained. The ground is spongey. We will be careful. I actually think eyes in there is not a bad idea,” said Thelma Bowles, a Tijeras resident.
Julie Deery with Santa Fe Seniors on Bikes said their group is excited to hit the trails again. “We’re excited a lot of people in this group also do mountain biking and gravel rides, even in Galisteo the local trails there have been shut down. Just because of precaution. We liked riding on the roads but it would be nice to get back into the forest.”
Some campgrounds in the Carson National Forest will have a delayed opening because of staffing issues as well as hazardous tree and branch removal. The Gila National Forest never closed to the public but are now lifting their stage 2 restrictions which means campfires are now allowed.