Officials lift fire restrictions on state lands, though local bans remain in some counties, tribal nations, national parks

By: - August 1, 2022 2:41 pm

The smoke from the fires in the mountain near Mora, N.M., is visible from a nearby propane station on June 13, 2022. (Photo by Bright Quashie for Source NM)

Citing recent rains and decreased fire danger, state forestry officials on Monday lifted restrictions that have been in place since April as wildfires ignited around the state.

The April restrictions on state lands prohibited smoking, fireworks, campfires and open fires on all lands not controlled by local, federal and tribal governments to reduce the chance of yet another blaze. Twenty burned at once during an early and unusually intense wildfire season in New Mexico.

With 20 active fires in a single April day, N.M. braces for longer, more dangerous season

In a one-page order published Monday, State Forester Laura McCarthy and Sarah Cottrell Propst, cabinet secretary of the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department, urged the public to “use fire cautiously and safely.” New Mexico’s Forestry Division can still bring the fire restrictions back if needed, they wrote.

“While the monsoon is bringing relief, we are not out of danger,” McCarthy said in a news release. “Parts of the state continue to be very dry, and we encourage New Mexicans and visitors to use caution with any use of fire, including fireworks, and to follow all local, federal or tribal restrictions that remain in place.”

As of Monday afternoon, local fire restrictions remained in parts of New Mexico, according to a map produced by the Southwest Coordinating Group.

Fire restrictions still in place as of Aug. 1 include:

The wildfires have left parts of northern New Mexico dealing with floods, with some waterways blocked by silt, trees and other debris. Meanwhile, it remains unclear whether the federal government will pay for the damage and loss of life.

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Austin Fisher
Austin Fisher

Austin Fisher is a journalist based in Santa Fe. He has worked for newspapers in New Mexico and his home state of Kansas, including the Topeka Capital-Journal, the Garden City Telegram, the Rio Grande SUN and the Santa Fe Reporter. Since starting a full-time career in reporting in 2015, he’s aimed to use journalism to lift up voices that typically go unheard in public debates around economic inequality, policing and environmental racism.