New Mexico announces 20 county open fire restrictions

New open fire restrictions were announced for Curry, Quay, and Roosevelt counties today.

New Mexico Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources announced restrictions to go into effect today for fireworks, campfires, outdoor smoking, and flaring of gas.

The restrictions were decided because of prolonged low levels of precipitation, high winds, and low humidity in new Mexico, causing high to extreme fire danger.

      "Open fire" means the use of any cooking, heating, or ignition device using natural or artificial fuel that has either an open flame or requires that the heat source be placed physically within the device.

The EMNRD restrictions include:

  • Smoking: Allowed only in enclosed buildings, developed recreation areas, within structures, vehicles equipped with ashtrays on paved or surfaced roads and in areas at least three feet in diameter that are barren or cleared of all flammable material.
  • Fireworks: Prohibited in all state and private wildlands outside city or tribal jurisdictions. Wildland areas include lands covered wholly or in part by timber, brush, grass, grain or other flammable vegetation. Exceptions are allowed for fire department approved public exhibits.
  • Campfires: Banned in all open areas including New Mexico State Parks unless the following exceptions are met. An exception is granted to the above where cooking or heating devices use kerosene, white gas or propane as a fuel in an improved camping area that is cleared of all flammable vegetation for at least 30 feet or has a water source. (For information, contact park managers or visit The State Forester is also allowing exceptions for charcoal grills and wood and coal stoves within yards associated with a residence or on the premises of a business
  • Open Burning: Open fires are restricted. This includes the burning of cropland, fields, rangeland, debris burning, slash piles, prescribed burning or weed burning. There is an exception for open burning on croplands that are irrigated and where adequate planning has been conducted. Persons conducting burns must notify the local fire department, monitor the burn at all times, secure the burn at the end of the day, and follow state air quality rules ( NMAC, Open Burning of Vegetative Material) and local ordinances.

Flaring of gas is prohibited.

The State Forester grants an exception to open burning when the following conditions are met:

  • At least one adult is on site with communications equipment adequate to reach county dispatch and the local fire department in the event of a fire. The individual should also be equipped with a shovel and a water backpack pump or other equipment to deliver water to suppress a fire.
  • The local fire department and county dispatch are notified at least 24 hours in advance of anticipated releases that will result in flaring. If flaring is done by an automated system then the schedule of flaring shall be provided to the local fire department and county dispatch.
  • Unless the flaring is needed for safety purposes, flaring pursuant to this exception shall not be done on days that are "red flag days" as determined by the National Weather Service or on days when the sustained wind is in excess of 25 miles per hour in the area.