Stage II fire restrictions in place for Cibola

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The Cibola National Forest and National Grasslands’ Sandia, Mt. Taylor, Mountainair and portions of the Magdalena Ranger District began Stage II fire restrictions on Monday.

“Although we’ve had some rain recently, it there wasn’t enough to significantly reduce fire danger,” said Forest Supervisor Elaine Kohrman. “In addition, the long-term forecast is predicting hot temperatures and little precipitation, so I felt it was necessary to go into Stage II restrictions to decrease the likelihood of human-caused wildfires and to protect public health and safety.”

Although the districts will be in fire restrictions, there are many activities that can still be enjoyed on the forest, such as picnicking, hiking and camping. All the campgrounds, picnic areas and trails are open, but campfires are prohibited. Please use extreme caution when you’re on the forest, because conditions are very dry and wildfires can start from smoldering cigarettes or sparks from engines.

Stage II fire restrictions include:

• Building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, campfire, charcoal, coal, or wood stove, anywhere on the Sandia or Mountainair Ranger Districts. Exceptions: The use of petroleum-fueled stoves, lanterns, propane grills, or heating devices is allowed, provided such devices meet the fire underwriter’s specification for safety and has a turn-off valve.

• Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building, at a developed recreation site, or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable material.

• Possessing, discharging or using any kind of fireworks or other pyrotechnic device.

• Discharging a firearm, air rifle or gas gun.

• Operating a chainsaw, or other equipment powered by an internal combustion engine between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.

• Operating or using any internal or external combustion engine without a spark arresting device that is properly installed, maintained and in effective working order. They must meet either USDA Forest Service or appropriate Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) recommended practice

• Welding or operating acetylene or other torch with an open flame.

• Possessing or using a motor vehicle off National Forest System roads, except when parking in an area devoid of vegetation within 10 feet of the roadway or overnight parking in Forest Service-developed campgrounds and trailheads.

The following are exempt from Stage II fire orders on public lands managed by the Cibola National Forest and National Grasslands:

• Persons with a Forest Service permit specifically authorizing the prohibited act or omission.

• Any federal, state or local officer or member of an organized firefighting force in the performance of an official duty.

• Residents, owners and lessees of land, and holders of Forest Service recreation special use authorizations within the restricted area, are exempt from Restriction No. 1 above ONLY, provided such fires are within a permanent structure.

• Operating generators with an approved spark arresting device within an enclosed vehicle or building or in an area that is barren or cleared of all overhead and surrounding flammable materials within three feet of the generator.

For more information, visit www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/cibola/alerts-notices.