SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – Thursday, legislators took a step towards increased fire safety in New Mexico. The Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 21. But it still needs to be approved in the House.

The bill is aimed at preventing prescribed burns from getting out of hand. After working its way through committee debate, the bill was modified slightly before reaching the Senate.

The initial version of the bill banned burns outright for some months. But after amendments and a substitute, the bill now stops burns on days when the National Weather Service issues a “red flag warning.”

After the bill passed the Senate, Republican sponsor Ron Griggs (Doña Ana, Eddy & Otero), issued a statement: “Special thanks to my Senate colleagues who saw the importance of taking action on behalf of the hundreds of New Mexicans impacted by wildfires sparked by prescribed burns,” he said. “To the people of New Mexico, thank you for the dozens of calls, messages, and emails that encouraged this body to act on this issue. Without your advocacy, this bill might have been just one of many bills that never get beyond a first hearing. Instead, we have sent a strong message on behalf of the people of New Mexico that we are not just interested in reparations for damage, but we are committed to stopping the next massive wildfire.”