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Santa Fe County imposes fire restrictions

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The Santa Fe County Commission on Tuesday unanimously passed an emergency ordinance declaring hazardous fire conditions and imposing fire restrictions within the county’s boundaries. The emergency ordinance went into effect immediately and will last 120 days.

Under the emergency ordinance, campfires and open fires of any kind are prohibited. Also banned are the open burning of vegetation or rubbish and smoking within a county park, campground, or any wildlife area, except inside an enclosed vehicle. Use of off-road vehicles and motor bikes within county parks, campgrounds and wildland areas are also prohibited.

According to material included in the packet for Tuesday’s meeting, the county fire department recommended adopting the ordinance due to severe drought conditions and expected warmer-than-normal temperatures and dry conditions forecast for the coming months. The measure is intended to reduce the likelihood of an accidental wildland fire, improve public safety and preserve property in Santa Fe County

Violators will be deemed guilty of a petty misdemeanor and are subject to 90 days imprisonment, a fine of $300, or both.

County Fire Chief David Sperling said this is the earliest date Santa Fe County has ever imposed an emergency ordinance declaring hazardous fire conditions and imposing fire restrictions. He said the previously earliest adoption of such an ordinance occurred during the commission’s first meeting in April in 2011.

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