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Citing the extreme drought and associated fire risk, Bernalillo County has closed Carlito Springs and its other East Mountain open spaces, while also banning open fires and aerial fireworks in the county’s unincorporated areas.
The County Commission approved the moves Tuesday night on a 3-0 vote.
Deputy Fire Chief Robert Rose told the commission that the decision would improve safety for residents, visitors and first responders alike and cited the U.S. Forest Service’s recent decision to close the Sandia Ranger District.
“This would really tie into what is already in place to help protect our precious resources,” Rose said.
The 2022 fire season already has devastated New Mexico, with the ongoing Calf Canyon/Hermits Peak Fire around Las Vegas, New Mexico, now ranking as the largest in state history.
The county’s bans will remain in place until further notice.
Commissioner Charlene Pyskoty, who lives in and represents the East Mountains, said it was “heartbreaking” to have to close the open spaces in her district but that she understood the necessity.
“We know firsthand it is so dry out there – those trees are just turning brown out there in the forest, and with the hot, windy, dry weather we’ve been having, it’s unfortunate but I’m wiling to support the closure of our open spaces that abut the forest,” she said.