Southern New Mexico national forest sets fire restrictions

ALAMOGORDO, N.M. (AP) — The Lincoln National Forest in southern New Mexico is restricting campfires and other potential starters of wildfires because of high fire danger tied to ongoing drought conditions.

The Stage One restrictions implemented Friday include prohibitions on campfires or other fires except in a Forest Service-provided grill or other fire structure and smoking outside buildings, enclosed vehicles, developed recreation sites or cleared areas at least 3 feet (1 meter) in diameter, officials said.

Fire Staff Officer David Bales said the criteria used to determine when to modify fire restrictions include current and predicted weather, fuel moistures, fire activity and available firefighting resources.

The forest service’s announcement of the restrictions said abandoned campfires are a major cause of wildfires each year. “Always keep enough water on hand, and a tool to drown and stir fires. If it is too hot to touch, it is too hot to leave,” it said.