ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service is enacting a campfire restriction for all national forests in New Mexico. They are enacting the restriction to help protect the health and safety of communities and employees during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a news release.
Beginning April 15, igniting, building, maintaining, attending or using a fire will be prohibited on all New Mexico national forests and national grasslands in Oklahoma and Texas. The forest service is also taking the necessary steps to ensure that first responders are available to safely respond to incidents.
“While we know that going outside provides forest and grassland visitors needed space and exercise, we are taking the risks presented by COVID-19 seriously,” said Steve Hattenbach, Forest Supervisor for the Cibola National Forest and Grasslands. “We are providing some recreation opportunities where we can while protecting and keeping employees, the public and our communities safe from the virus and unwanted human-caused wildfires.”
Violating the campfire restriction may result in an appearance in federal court, fines, and possible time in jail. Forest visitors will still be able to use pressurized liquid or gas devices such as stoves, grills or lanterns as long as they have shut-off valves. Also if they are using a stove or lantern they need to be in an area that is at least three feet away from any flammable materials.
While these restrictions are in place, the majority of the five national forests in New Mexico are still open. Visit the Interactive Visitor Map at www.fs.usda.gov/goto/ivm for more information on available activities and closed sites.
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