Bill restricting prescribed burns in New Mexico moves forward
SANTA FE, N.M. – A bill that would pump the breaks on prescribed burns this spring is rising from the ashes.
“Senate Bill 21 is designed to reduce the risk of prescribed burns in the springtime, getting out of control and causing the damages that you’ve seen across New Mexico,” state Sen. Ron Griggs said.
The proposal was tabled almost immediately last month, but the District 34 representative and bill’s sponsor said he was not ready to let it burn out.
“It appeared to me that this bill meant a little more,” Sen. Griggs explained. “People’s homes were lost. People’s property was destroyed. So, it made more sense to at least take the time to debate it in committee. Whether the bill was good or bad, really didn’t matter, but take the time to show the people in New Mexico that the legislature is concerned enough about the issue to talk about it.”
So, Sen. Griggs went back to the drawing board, changing the bill’s language and making it more specific.
“The bill just said initially, you can’t burn in the spring.” He said. “What the bill now says is, you can’t burn in the spring, when a Red Flag Warning has been issued for the date and the time you want to burn.”
This would be during the months of March, April and May.
“If the individuals or the entity that wants to do the burn does those particular things, we protect the public better than we have in the past,” Sen. Griggs said Thursday morning, before the Senate Conservation Committee put the updated version of his bill to a vote.
It passed with a 5-2 vote. Sen. Griggs said he hopes the bill will continue moving forward and eventually make it on the floor for a full vote.
Before the bill was passed, the committee gave the community a chance to weigh in. Watch the video above to hear what they had to say about SB 21.