Fire Restrictions Increased; Closures Imposed
PIO Contact Information
For Immediate Release: May 21, 2013
The City of Albuquerque and Bernalillo County have increased to Stage II Fire Restrictions and portions of the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District are closing effective 8 a.m. Wednesday, May 22, 2013.
Due to the current and predicted fuel conditions, fire behavior, weather, extreme drought and public activity levels, these restrictions and closures are necessary to decrease the likelihood of human-caused wildfires in order to protect the public's health and safety.
"This is a very dangerous time of year for our desert city. We're asking residents to be extra vigilant this fire season and make smart choices for the good of our community," said Mayor Richard J. Berry. "We have an extraordinary treasure in our Bosque and we need the help of the community to preserve it."
About Stage II Restrictions
Stage II Restrictions intensifies the restrictions from Stage I by focusing on activities that, although normally managed under permit or contract, have a relatively high risk of causing a fire.
Stage II Restrictions limit the activities of contractors, permitted and other wildlands users in certain areas in the city and county.
The fire restrictions apply to all Open Space areas within the municipal boundaries of the City of Albuquerque and Bernalillo County to include the West Mesa grass lands, the Bosque and the Open Space Areas of the Sandia Foothills.
Stage II Fire Restrictions prohibit:
- Building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, open flame, campfire or stove fire.
- Smoking, except in enclosed vehicles.
- Possessing, discharging or using any kind of fireworks or other pyrotechnic device.
- Possessing or using a motor vehicle off any publicly designated roadways, except when parking in developed parking lots or at developed trailheads.
- Operating a chainsaw or other equipment powered by an internal combustion engine.
- Operating any piece of spark-emitting equipment.
- Operating any internal or external combustion engine.
- Welding, or operating acetylene or other torch with an open flame.
- Camping or overnight stay.
Penalties & Enforcement
City of Albuquerque: Any person found violating the fire restrictions ordinance shall be charged with a petty misdemeanor. Upon conviction, each violation shall be punishable by a fine up to five hundred dollars ($500) and/or imprisonment up to ninety (90) days.
Bernalillo County: Any person found violating the fire restrictions ordinance shall be charged with a petty misdemeanor. Upon conviction, each violation shall be punishable by a fine up to three hundred dollars ($300) and/or imprisonment up to ninety (90) days. The Albuquerque Fire Department and Bernalillo County Fire Marshal Offices as well as the Albuquerque Police Department's Open Space Officers are responsible for enforcing the Fire Restriction Ordinance.
"As the potential for large wildfires grow across Bernalillo County, we are imposing these restrictions to reduce the likelihood of human-caused wildfires," says Fire Marshal Chris Gober. "We take preventing wildfires seriously and will have zero tolerance for those caught violating the fire restrictions."
All Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District owned lands will be in full closure in Sandoval, Valencia and Socorro Counties. This closure does not include Sevilleta and Bosque Del Apache Wildlife Refuges, La Joya State Refuge, the Village of Corrales and all Pueblo lands.
"While closure of the Bosque is a difficult decision, it is the responsibility of the MRGCD to protect this wonderful resource and all of our visitors who enjoy it," said Chief Engineer Subhas Shah. "The MRGCD is asking everyone to respect these closures in these difficult dry times."
The Bosque, Open Space areas and the Foothills are your lands. You have a stake in what happens on them. Illegal activities can take place anywhere and at any time but usually occur later in the evening or on the weekends.
If you see an activity that you think is suspicious, we encourage you to report it. If you witness suspicious activity, call 505-242-COPS.
When you report a tip, provide information such as:
- Description of the person(s)
- Description of their vehicle, such as registration or distinguishing logos (car rental identifier, license plate, etc.)
- What they are doing
- When and where activity happened
Do not approach them.
If there is a fire or someone is in danger, call 911.
Report What You See
What to look for when reporting suspicious activity:
- Any spark or light in the Bosque, Foothills or Open Space Areas.
- Camping or Smoking
- Anyone damaging any Open Space site or trail or deliberately setting a fire.
The goal of these efforts is to protect our communities and our forests but we need help from both homeowners and visitors so please:
- Be vigilant and use common sense when dealing with open flames of any sort.
- Create a defensible space around your home.
- Be aware of RED FLAG warning days! Follow the Red Flag Protocols, and
- Know the restrictions in the areas you visit.
For information on restrictions and updates on fires state and nationwide, go to:
- City of Albuquerque Fire Department
- Bernalillo County Fire Department
- Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District
- National Weather Service Red Flag Warnings
- SW Area Wildland Fire Operations (SWCC) fire restriction hot line: (877) 864-6985
- New Mexico Fire Information
- New Mexico State Forestry
- National Incident Information System