The New Mexico State Forestry Division has set new fire restrictions for forest lands and parks throughout New Mexico. According to Eugene Pino, Fire Management Officer for the Las Vegas District, the restrictions are in effect indefinitely.
“The new restrictions will be in effect until we get precipitation or until we get even stricter restrictions,” said Pino. “We haven’t had any fires in the Conchas Lake area this year, but things are drying up.” All campers and picnickers in state parks (including Ute Lake and Conchas Lake) must keep their campfires confined to fire pits in designated campground areas.
According to State Forester Arthur Blazer, the new rules are designed to protect homes in and around forest areas.
“Fires are a threat to homes in any of the forested areas,” he said.
Smokers will have to confine their smoking to their vehicles while inside state parks. A state Forestry Division release states that, “Smoking is allowed only in designated areas within vehicles equipped with ashtrays on paved or surfaced roads.” Rodney Paris, Park Manager of Ute Lake State Park, said the new restrictions apply to Ute Lake even though the area is not especially prone to wildfires. “Campfires will only be allowed in designated areas within 100 yards of the lake,” said Paris, “and there is the possibility that smokers will be cited if they are caught smoking outside their vehicles.