New Mexico governor signs ban on prescribed burns during red flag warnings

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SANTA FE, N.M. — Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed a bill Tuesday, banning prescribed burns in areas of New Mexico where a red flag warning is in effect.

Republican State Sen. Ron Griggs, of Alamogordo, introduced the bill when the session started. His original bill called for a total ban on prescribed burns between March 1 and May 31 “of any year.”

The state Senate amended that bill to ban prescribed burns any time a red flag warning is in effect between March 1 and May 31. After it unanimously passed, the state House made more changes.

The House made some final changes. Their version of the bill banned any prescribed burns for any areas under a red flag warning.

The House passed the bill unanimously and went to the governor’s desk after the Senate concurred.

The bill is now in effect. Read the full text here.

Its passage comes as it has been nearly one year since the Calf Canyon/Hermit’s Peak Fire. The U.S. government admitted their errors led to the start of the wildfire – the largest in New Mexico’s history.

The prescribed burn began on April 6, 2022. On that day, the national weather service didn’t issue a red flag warning for the area. However, dry conditions and breezes caused spot fires to form outside of the fire’s perimeter.

Read more about the Calf Canyon/Hermit’s Peak Fire here.