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Metro Area Fire Restriction Changes

Additional restrictions imposed as fire conditions worsen.

The City of Albuquerque, Bernalillo County, and Cibola National Forest and Grasslands will be imposing partial and full closures effective at 8 a.m. June 10, 2013. The city and county are imposing a partial closure of the Rio Grande Bosque and Foothills. The county is closing the open space areas in the East Mountains.

An Open Burning Ban will also be in effect within the municipal areas of the city and unincorporated areas of the county in public and private outdoor areas as of 8 a.m. on June 10, 2013.

Cibola National Forest and Grasslands will be imposing a closure of the Sandia and Mountainair Ranger Districts. Sandia Ranger District will still have several areas, trails and roads open during the closure.

Extreme fire conditions exist throughout the Albuquerque Metro Area as evidenced by current and predicted fuel conditions, fire behavior, weather, extreme drought and public activity levels, these partial and full closures are necessary to decrease the likelihood of human-caused wildfires in order to protect the public's health and safety and valuable natural resources.

City of Albuquerque & Bernalillo County

Under the partial closure, citizens may still use the levee roads and established trails in the Bosque and Foothills. Citizens should not be off the established trails.

"The use of our citizens is part of the city's Bosque preservation and Fire Prevention strategy." Fire Chief James Breen said. "Limited public access maintains a human presence to report fires in the early stages, report suspicious activity and prohibited activities."

Bernalillo County is closing the following East Mountain open space areas on Monday:

  • Carlito Springs
  • Ojito de San Antonio
  • Sabino Canyon
  • Sedillo Ridge
  • Sandia Knolls

Bosque & Foothill Area Rules

  • Designated trails in the Sandia Foothills Open Space remain open.
  • Wooded areas of the bosque (areas under the canopy) are closed.
  • Only the Paseo del Bosque multi-use trail and levee roads are open for public use. All other trails including the Aldo Leopold Trail are closed.
  • Picnic areas in the Rio Grande Valley State Park are closed with the exception of the Pueblo Moñtano and Rio del Norte Picnic areas.
  • Access to the river for boating is allowed only at the northeast corner of the Alameda Bridge and at the northeast corner of the Central Avenue Bridge (Rio del Norte).

Open Burning Ban

Open burning has been banned in public and private outdoor areas within the municipal boundaries of the City of Albuquerque and Bernalillo County. Examples include but are not limited to:

  • Open burning
  • Bonfires
  • Recreational fires
  • Use of model rockets
  • Open flame devices

Burning may be done in an enclosed chamber devices such as cooking or outdoor grills.

Stage III Restrictions

While enjoying the Bosque and foothills on established trails, remember that Stage III Fire Restrictions are inclusive of Stage I and II fire restrictions and prohibit:

  • Building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, campfire, charcoal, coal, or stove fire
  • Smoking except within an enclosed vehicle or building
  • Using an explosive
  • Discharging a firearm, air rifle or gas gun
  • Operating a chainsaw or other equipment powered by an internal combustion engine
  • Operating or using any internal or external combustion engine without a spark arresting device that is properly installed, maintained and in effective working order
  • Welding or operating acetylene or other torch with an open flame

Penalties & Enforcement

City of Albuquerque

Any person found violating the fire restrictions ordinance or anyone caught off the established trails 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 or anyone caught off the established trails 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. Albuquerque Fire Department and Albuquerque Police Department Open Space Officers will be increasing their patrols beginning on Monday, June 10, 2013, until conditions improve.

Cibola National Forest & Grasslands

Under the closure, Mountainair and Sandia Ranger District areas are closed unless specifically listed as open. However, there are some exemptions for both districts:

  1. Persons with a Forest Service permit specifically authorizing the prohibited act or omission
  2. Any federal, state or local officer or member of an organized firefighting force in the performance of an official duty
  3. Residents in the area accessing private property via a closed Forest Service road
  4. Persons occupied in a business, trade or occupation in the area as specifically authorized.

Sandia Ranger District

The entire district is closed, except for the following areas, trails and roads. The open areas will operate under Stage II fire restrictions.

Open Areas

Sandia Peak Tram and associated facilities. Visitors are not allowed to access any National Forest lands at the top of the Tram. Visitation will be confined to use of the Tram facilities and observation deck only.

The Tijeras Pueblo interpretive trail located at the Sandia Ranger Station. Visitors must stay on the official trail.

Open Trails

Those portions of Forest Trail 365, including secondary trails associated with Forest Trail 365, outside of the Sandia Mountain Wilderness, and South of the Tram.

Open Roads

  • Forest Road 242
  • Forest Road 413

Mountainair Ranger District

The entire district is closed.

Cibola National Forest & Grasslands

Current Fire Restrictions are:

  • Sandia Ranger District: Closed with the exceptions listed above
  • Mountainair Ranger District: Full Closure.
  • Black Kettle and McClellan Creek National Grasslands: No restrictions
  • Kiowa and Rita Blanca National Grasslands: Will begin Stage I fire restrictions on June 16.
  • Magdalena Ranger District: In Stage I fire restrictions for the San Mateo, Datil and Magdalena Mountain units. The Bear and Gallinas units no restrictions
  • Mt. Taylor Ranger District: Stage II restrictions. The district's personal woodcutting permit season is delayed

NM State Forestry

New Mexico State Forestry has implemented statewide restrictions on all state and private lands that are non-municipal, non-federal, and non-tribal. Smoking, fireworks, campfires, open burning, and open fires are prohibited.

View details and certain exceptions.

Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District

All Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District owned lands remain 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.

Reporting Suspicious Activity & Safety Tips

The Bosque, Foothills, Open Space Areas and the Sandia Ranger District 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.

What to look for when reporting suspicious activity:

  • Any spark or light in the Bosque, Foothills, Open Space Areas or Sandia Ranger District
  • Camping or Smoking
  • Anyone damaging any Open Space site or trail or deliberately setting a fire.

If you witness suspicious activity, call (505) 242-COPS. When you report a tip, provide information such as:

  1. Description of the person(s) and of their vehicle,
  2. Registration or distinguishing logo (car rental identifier, license plate)
  3. What they are doing, when, and where.

Do not approach them! If there is a fire or someone is in danger, call 911.

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
  • Know the restrictions in the areas you visit.

Additional Resource & PIO Contact Information

For information on restrictions and updates on fires state and nationwide, go to:

Public Information Officers