Fire danger is high across all of New Mexico, leading to burn bans in state forests and across various counties, including Catron County.
A fire danger rating of HIGH is defined as “all fine dead fuels ignite readily and fires start easily from most causes.” Unattended brush and camp fires are likely to escape. Fires may become serious and their control difficult. Outdoor burning is now banned in most areas, and this will remain in place until conditions change and the bans are rescinded.
In Catron County, a ban burn notice has been posted prohibiting any outdoor burns, including campfires, open fires, any type of burn that generates sparks or smoke that causes a safety hazard (this refers to state air quality standards).
In Catron County, anyone burning can be fined up to $300 and/or given up to 90 days in jail.
In the Gila forest, please report fires and abandoned campfires to the Silver City Interagency Dispatch at 1800-538-1644.
In the Magdalena Ranger District, Stage I fire restrictions are in place for the Magdalena Mountain Range, San Mateo Mountain Range and Datil Mountain Range. This prohibits any fire, campfire, or stove fire, except in Forest Service developed camp and picnic grounds, as well as smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building or specifically marked area, and any kind of firework or other pyrotechnic. Violations are punishable by a fine of $5,000 for individuals, $10,000 for organizations, and/or 6 months of imprisonment.
Please be vigilant of the spring winds, low humidity and rising temperatures, and avoid using anything with an open flame or a spark.
If mowing grass down, use a string-style trimmer rather than a lawn mower as the blades can strike rocks and produce a spark. Make sure your chain saw has a spark arrestor, that your trailer chains are not dragging and that all cigarettes are extinguished in an ashtray.
Fire danger is anticipated to remain high through May and June, and until monsoon season begins in New Mexico.
For more information on all burn restrictions across New Mexico visit the website firerestrictions.us/nm.