Bernalillo County commissioners tonight declared a state of severe drought and imposed fire restrictions on land outside city limits.
The commission unanimously adopted a resolution that bans open flames, campfires and similar activities in the unincorporated area.
There are also smoking restrictions. Smoking is allowed only in areas that are barren or if the person is in a vehicle or building.
Violating the ban can result in fines up to $300 and up to 90 days in jail.
The fire restrictions will be in place for the next six months.
County fire officials told commissioners that the ban was warranted by dry conditions. Only small storm systems have hit the Albuquerque area recently, and firefighters expect the weather to remain dry, windy and hot.
Even when storm systems bring moisture, they’re likely to provide only temporary relief, fire officials said.
County Commissioner Wayne Johnson urged residents in the East Mountains to be particularly careful about safeguarding their property and to reach out to the county if they need help determining what brush to trim or remove.