Open Space Fire Restrictions
Prevent Wildland Fires in Open Space: You Can Help
Early detection can be the difference between a small or large scale fire. How can you help during this critical fire season? Follow these guidelines:
- Carry a cell phone to report suspicious activity, smoke or fire.
- Carry a map of the area so you can accurately report access points or nearest cross streets for emergency personnel.
- Visit areas you are familiar with so you know how to quickly evacuate if necessary.
- Carry a notebook to record important information such as the location of an illegal camp, description of individuals involved in suspicious activity, or areas requiring important signage.
- If you see fire, call 911.
- To report non-emergency activity, call (505) 242-COPS.
- Most importantly, be safe. Never approach smoke or fire.
- Leave the area as soon as you detect it and then call 911.
Bosque Fire Safety
Our Bosque areas are beautiful. Many people use them as multi-recreational parks.
While enjoying our natural areas, help our local fire professionals by looking out for suspicious persons or behavior.
To report unusual activities, call 911 or 242-COPS.
Bosque Fire Safety Video
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Fire Restrictions in Open Space
Can I have a barbeque or campfire on Open Space lands?
Building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, open flame, campfire or stove fire is prohibited on Major Public Open Space lands except in designated picnic areas with grills. Please note that during high fire danger, additional restrictions may be put in place for the designated picnic areas, such as under Stage II and Stage III Fire Restrictions, when charcoal fires, propane and gas stoves, and open fires are restricted throughout all Open Space areas. See below for more details.
How do I find out if there is a restriction on using the charcoal grills or my gas stove in the designated picnic areas?
Fire danger levels will be clearly posted in the designated picnic areas.
During Very High and Extreme fire danger conditions and under Stage II Fire Restrictions, charcoal fires, propane and gas stoves, and open fires are restricted even in designated picnic areas. See below for more details.
You may also call the Open Space pre-recorded fire restriction information hotline at 452-5201.
What are the Fire Restrictions Permanently in Place for Open Space Areas?
Major Public Open Space Areas are considered permanently under Stage I Fire Restrictions. Prohibited activities include:
- Building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, open flame, campfire or stove fire except in designated picnic areas except in designated picnic areas.
- 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 an acetylene or other torch with an open flame
- Camping or overnight stay
~From Article 19 of the City of Albuquerque Code of Ordinances.
What are the Permanent Fire Restrictions for the Bosque?
The same restrictions as above apply to the Rio Grande Valley State Park (Bosque).
However, please note that there are no areas where fires, charcoal grills, or stoves are allowed in the bosque.
See the listing of designated picnic areas with grills for information where you can have a BBQ.
What do the Fire Level Warning Signs Mean?
The Open Space Division has fire danger signs posted in many areas. The signs are updated as quickly as possible after a change in fire conditions is determined.
- Extreme: No charcoal or wood fires. Gas stoves OK in designated picnic areas only.
- Very High: No charcoal or wood fires. Gas stoves OK in designated picnic areas only.
- High: Charcoal and wood fires in provided grills in designated picnic areas only. Gas stoves OK in designated picnic areas only.
What are Stage II and Stage III Restrictions?
Stage II Restrictions apply to all Open Space area's within the municipal boundaries of the City of Albuquerque to include the west mesa grass lands, the Bosque and the Open Space Areas of the Sandia Foothills . State II Restrictions include:
1. Building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, open flame, campfire or stove fire.
3. Possessing, discharging or using any kind of fireworks or other pyrotechnic device.
4. Possessing or using a motor vehicle off any publicly designated roadways, except when parking in developed parking lots or at developed trailheads.
5. Operating a chainsaw or other equipment powered by an internal combustion engine.
6. Operating any piece of spark-emitting equipment.
7. Operating any internal or external combustion engine.
8. Welding, or operating an acetylene or other torch with an open flame.
9. Camping or overnight stay.
Stage III Fire Restrictions (Full or Partial Closure of Open Space Areas)
Stage III results in the closure of specific open space areas. This stage will be implemented when ongoing emergencies pose a risk to the health and welfare of the public or when the ability to mitigate risks using Stage I or II restrictions is no longer viable. The need to protect the public at this stage outweighs the impacts of implementing a partial or complete closure.
Why does the City sometimes close Open Space areas to the public?
Extreme fire conditions exist throughout the State of New Mexico and in the Albuquerque Metro Area as evidenced by the recent high fire activity. With the large amount of dry-vegetative fuels, high temperatures, and high winds, conditions are ripe for disaster.
A wildland fire in Major Public Open Space would be devastating to our community and damage the affected open space area for generations. A few days of restricted access to Major Public Open Space areas is a much better alternative than having areas closed for years for recovery due to a catastrophic fire.
Additionally, keeping the public out of Major Public Open Space means that in the event of a fire firefighters can focus on putting out the fire rather than rescuing a person who may be trapped in an area.
How does the City decide to close Major Public Open Space areas?
Article 19 of the City of Albuquerque Code of Ordinances defines when and how the City can close Major Public Open Space.
Increased fire restrictions shall be determined by the Fire Chief and shall be based upon current fire indices, fire behavior predictions, current and expected weather conditions, drought indices, human factors, ignition factors and local factors that would cause undue strain on local fire agencies in the event of a fire.
A ban or stage of restriction shall be publicly declared by the Fire Chief and announced through all public and private media accessible to the Fire Chief.
Once a ban or restrictions have been declared by the Fire Chief, it shall remain in effect until the Fire Chief determines that the increased fire danger has been alleviated.
The Fire Chief will publicly announce that a ban or restriction has been lessened or removed using the same media used to declare the ban or restriction.
From Article 19 of the City of Albuquerque Code of Ordinances.
How can I celebrate the 4th of July safely?
- By City of Albuquerque Ordinance, the sale and use of all Aerial Fireworks and Ground Audible Devices within the city limits is prohibited.
- The Albuquerque Fire Department is encouraging the Metro Area Residents to attend Albuquerque public firework displays instead of purchasing fireworks. The Freedom 4th and Isotopes Park displays are two examples of high quality, enjoyable and safe events.
- If residents must by fireworks, buy local to be assured what you buy is legal and safe.
- Fireworks should not be used on "Red Flag Warning" days, as these days indicate extreme risk for wildland fires. Please refer to the Red Flag Warning web site provided by the National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office for up to date information.
- If residents must purchase fireworks, buy locally to ensure what you purchase is safe and legal for use within the city limits.
- Fireworks should only be used on paved or barren areas-away from homes, vegetation and combustible materials.
- Users of fireworks should have a readily available source of water, such as a charged garden hose or two 5 gallon buckets available to put out any unintended fires.
- Residents that purchase and use illegal fireworks, such as aerial devices, are putting their community at risk for disaster.
What are the differences between City of Albuquerque Fire Restrictions and U.S. Forest Service Fire Restrictions?
The Forest Service allows camping and campfires on many of their lands outside of designated camping and picnic areas. The Open Space Division does not allow camping on Major Public Space, and only allows campfires, charcoal fires, and gas stoves in designated picnic areas.
Under Stage II Fire Restrictions, gas stoves are NOT allowed in designated campgrounds and picnic areas.
What are Red Flag Warnings?
Red Flag Warnings may be announced within 24 hours. Under Red Flag warnings the use of campfires, charchoal, gas stoves, and open flames of any kind is discouraged. Fireworks should not be used on "Red Flag Warning" days, as these days indicate extreme risk for wildland fires. Red Flag warnings are announced under unusual circumstances, including but not limited to:
- Sustained winds averaging 15 m.p.h. or greater
- Relative humidity less than or equal to 25 percent and
- A temperature of greater than 75 degrees F.
Please refer to the Red Flag Warning web site provided by the National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office for up to date information.
- US Forest Service definitions for Stage I, II, III, and stage IV Fire Restrictions.
- The U.S. Forest Service National Fire Danger Rating System
- Red Flag Warning web site provided by the National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office
- NM Fire Info | New Mexico Fire Information, current information on fires in New Mexico.