The state imposed fire restrictions Wednesday (May 13) on state lands due to high winds, warmer temperatures and dry conditions.
Meanwhile, Taos County also implemented No Burn Days from Thursday (May 14) to Monday (May 18).
The state imposed fire restrictions Wednesday (May 13) on state lands due to high winds, warmer temperatures and dry conditions. No open campfires or burning will be allowed although camp stoves are permitted with some precautions.
Taos County also implemented No Burn Days from Thursday (May 14) to Monday (May 18).
“We are seeing unseasonably dry conditions,” said Taos County Fire Marshal James Hampton.
Hampton said the department has responded to 24 wildfires this year and is urging the public to take the fire restrictions seriously, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We understand how frustrating this is for people, but at the end of the day we are trying to make sure we keep our neighbors and loved ones safe,” Hampton said.
Hampton said minimizing the response for the firefighters helps during the COVID-19 emergency by not stretching the emergency services too thin.
Nicole Trousdale and Jonathon Pite of the Ute Creek Ranch recently lost 10 acres to a fire that was started on May 2 – a declared “no burn” day by the county.
According to Trousdale, the fire was started by a neighbor working on an acequia in the area and escalated to destroy over 600 trees on ranch property. The fire came within 125 yards of a hay barn on the property. The neighbor had a burn permit, but should not have been burning that day, according to the county.
“We are thankful for what didn’t happen but what did happen was just a disaster,” Trousdale said.
Those caught burning on a no-burn day could face a $300 fine, imprisonment of up to 90 days or both.
Open fires, fireworks, campfires and smoking are largely prohibited across the state due to the dry conditions. Open burning of debris must be done where the land has been irrigated and there is enough personnel to suppress the fire.
Burn permits can be requested through the Taos County or town websites. Even with a permit, people must call the county dispatch before starting to burn in case conditions have changed and to alert fire managers. Residents with a burn permit are required to call Taos Central Dispatch at (575) 758-3361 before burning begins and after it’s finished.
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