SILVER CITY, N.M. (KRQE) – With wildfire season looming in New Mexico, forest officials are urging campers to be extra cautious when it comes to campfires. U.S. Forest Service officials say that last weekend, they found “numerous abandoned, smoldering campfires” around Gila National Forest. Leaving fires unattended is illegal, they warned.
“Research suggests that up to 85% of all wildfires are caused by human activities,” Gila National Forest Supervisor Camille Howes said in a press release. “I know that our forest visitors come here because they love this landscape, and they would never wish to cause a damaging wildfire. Make sure your campfire doesn’t become a wildfire by taking a few extra minutes to ensure your fire is cold before leaving it unattended.”
To correctly put out a fire, the Forest Service says you should first drown the fire with water. Then, use a shovel to scrape hot embers off of the sticks and logs. Next, stir the soupy mix of water, ash, and wood to ensure everything is wet.
But wait, there’s more to closing up camp. You need to feel the coals, embers, and wood with your hand, the Forest Service says. Ensure that everything, including the rocks underneath and around the fire site, is cool to the touch.