Spring campfires, barbecues and other open flames in Bernalillo County must be extinguished.
County commissioners approved a resolution April 26 banning and restricting smoking, campfires and open burning in parts of the county for the next 180 days.
County Commissioner spokesman Larry Gallegos said the ban is standard for this time of year, but because of the extreme cold in January and February, plants died and created a greater risk for a brush fire. He said violators will be cited and ticketed and could face jail time if found guilty.
“It is a serious offense if you start a major fire,” he said. “You have to think about the firefighters it takes and the equipment to put out a fire. It turns into a very serious financial burden.”
Bernallio County Fire Marshall Chris Gober said that something as simple as burning weeds can escalate into large-scale fires. He said that the East Mountains are most susceptible to fire.
“There are some vicious winds right now, which can turn a small fire into big fire really quickly,” he said. “If you live out there, you tend to keep on the outlook because fire doesn’t respect a fence line. We ask people to call and let us know if they see anything.”
The ban and restrictions are in effect throughout districts 1-11 and 13, Gallegos said.
“Most people are smart enough to know that they don’t want to burn their house down,” he said.