Because of the recent precipitation the area has experienced, the Valencia County Fire Marshal’s Office has rescinded its restriction on open burning for the unincorporated areas of the county.
Fire Marshal John Cherry said he lifted the ban because the rain has reduced fire danger in Valencia County and throughout the state. Cherry had imposed the restrictions on April 3, after drought conditions and high winds in the county posed severe fire dangers.
The fire marshal’s office may re-instate fire restrictions if climatic conditions, drought, fire danger or other factors present a threat of fire to the public or private property in the unincorporated areas of the county.
Cherry said he wanted to acknowledge the public’s support during the last few months. “Thank you, Valencia County residents, for being responsible and being careful,” Cherry said.
However, since the restrictions have been lifted, there are several rules that county residents need to follow before any open burning is done.
No burning of household trash whatsoever will be allowed in the county. Agricultural burns are permitted, such as of grass, weeds and leaves. Cherry recommends always having all the safety items that are needed to assist in maintaining control of burns, such as portable water tanks, garden hoses and shovels.
Cellular telephones are also recommended in the event a burn gets out of hand.
If and when residents plan an open burn, Cherry advises they call the fire marshal’s office, 866-2040 or 866-2041, or the fire dispatch center, 866-2460, to notify them of the plans. The fire marshal’s office and dispatchers will provide additional weather information.
“Never burn when wind is blowing and never leave a burn unattended,” Cherry said. “And always use caution and, when in doubt, learn not to burn.”
Clara Garcia is the editor and publisher of the Valencia County News-Bulletin.
She is a native of the city of Belen, beginning her journalism career at the News-Bulletin in 1998 as the crime and courts reporter. During her time at the paper, Clara has won numerous awards for her writing, photography and typography and design both from the National Newspaper Association and the New Mexico Press Association.