The county was first to decide. The fire marshal’s office issued a restriction on open burning in unincorporated areas because of the tinder dry conditions. We’d already lost several hundred acres of bosque and brush to flames, and volunteers and paid professionals labored for a couple of days to make sure it wouldn’t re-ignite.
Then, on Thursday, the State Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department issued a ban on campfires and open fires on non-municipal and non-federal lands in New Mexico. It also restricted smoking to enclosed buildings, vehicles with ashtrays and developed recreation sites.
This is serious — deadly serious.
When we fail to obey such restrictions, we put at risk our homes and our neighbors’ residences, our livelihoods and even our lives. We disrupt the lives of volunteer firefighters, who often have to take time off work and away from their families, and we make them face the almost-constant threat of death.
It isn’t something that should be taken lightly. We must obey these orders.
If you haven’t burned off a field, get used to the fact that you’re going to have to clear it some other way — plow those weeds under; they’ll enrich your soil.
If you go ahead and decide to burn, you could be facing a visit from state or county officials — and you could be putting your own family’s lives in jeopardy.
The Valencia County News-Bulletin is a locally owned and operated community newspaper, dedicated to serving Valencia County since 1910 through the highest journalistic and professional business standards. The VCNB is published weekly on Thursdays, including holidays both in print and online.