Forest Service officials voice holiday weekend fire concerns
July 03, 2019 11:55 AM
SANTA FE, N.M. - Forest Service officials are voicing concerns over the Fourth of July holiday weekend and offering up some tips to keep you and your family safe as well as the forest.
Just last week KOB reported that 45 abandoned campfires were found by Santa Fe National Forest officials a couple of weekends ago. Even though the number dropped dramatically to just 11 in last weekend, officials remain concerned about the risk of fires due to the large amount of visitors expected this weekend.
“Thanks to good moisture through the winter and into June, we are not in fire restrictions this year,” Fire Staff Officer Lance Elmore said. “But the forest can and will burn. And if your abandoned campfire causes a 1-acre fire, a 100-acre fire or a 10,000-acre fire, you have put the lives of firefighters at risk. We are asking everyone to make sure their campfires are dead out before they head for home.”
Fire officials are asking visitors to follow Smokey Bear's campfire safety procedures and to never leave a campsite until the fire is completely extinguished and cold to the touch.
The following are tips to stay safe in the forest over the holiday weekend:
- Weather - Be prepared for thunderstorms. Seek shelter in buildings or vehicles if there is lightning. Do not seek shelter under trees. Also, avoid lower areas such as arroyos and channels due to flash flooding concerns.
- Camping - Be considerate of other campers and follow the "Leave No Trace Principles." Make sure to have plenty of drinking water. Share your plans with someone, including your itinerary and when you expect to return home. Do not rely on cell phones as remote sections of the forest may not always have coverage.
- Wildlife - Leave wildlife alone. Photograph and watch from a distance. Be bear aware and know what to do if you encounter a bear. Store food and trash in bear-resistant containers away from your tent. Many forests are also home to mountain lions. Read what to do if you encounter a mountain lion here.
- Pets - Owners are responsible for the safety of their pets and other visitors. National Forest Service guidelines require pets to be on a leash at all times and the leash cannot be any longer than six feet in recreation areas, parking lots and interpretive trails. Clean up after your pets.
- Hazard Trees - Be aware of your surroundings and look up when hiking on trails. Many trees are weakened due to age and can pose a risk of falling.
- Motorized Vehicles - Select roads and trails are open to motor vehicle traffic. Click here to review SFNF's 2019 Motor Vehicle Use Maps.
Created: July 03, 2019 11:55 AM
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