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Visit your public lands, including the Railyard

SANTA FE, N.M. — The wildfire in the Jemez Mountains that broke out last week and threatened homes in a forest area containing numerous, scattered homes west of Los Alamos serves as the latest reminder that people need to be careful out in the great outdoors. The blaze, which firefighting crews knocked down with a huge commitment of air and land resources, was started by an abandoned campfire, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

So, continue to enjoy the woods, northern New Mexicans, but these days don’t even think about starting campfire or a charcoal grill outside of developed campgrounds and their fire rings. Setting off fireworks in the national forest, and not just during such dry and hot conditions, is illegal — not to mention imbecilic and potentially deadly.

Also, take note that firefighters had to cancel air drops of fire retardants for a couple of hours last week because someone decided to fly a drone over the burning forest. It shouldn’t have to, if common sense were universal, but the forest service has issued numerous alerts against the use of flying toys when air bombers and choppers are trying to stop a wildfire.

Maybe the best option for outdoor activities these days, in fact, is to go urban. This summer, especially, Santa Fe’s Railyard has become a literal hot bed of activity.

Just on Saturday this weekend, all within the Railyard’s confines, there’s an impressive list of goings-on. Put on a hat for shade purposes and check out the always crowded Saturday morning Farmers Market (the market also has just has added a new Wednesday 3-7 p.m. session for the rest of the summer); put away your screens and participate in the local celebration of International Mud Day from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.; and listen to the big-hatted Ukranian band DakhaBrakha at a free concert that starts at 7 p.m. under the water tank.

With new apartments under construction and proposed new businesses, the city-owned Railyard really does seem to be on its way to becoming the urban activity center the City Council and others wanted when Santa Fe put up many millions to buy the land in the 1990s.

The building that houses the REI store is still mired in management and bankruptcy problems that date back to the Great Recession, but the Violet Crown Cinema has shown that things can work in the Railyard.

Whatever you do outside, hydrate often. And have fun out there.

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