Extreme fire danger brought on by ongoing drought prompted New Mexico’s land commissioner to immediately ban fireworks, smoking and open fires on state trust lands.
Commissioner Ray Powell says the severe drought conditions can lead to catastrophic wildfires when combined with high winds and heavy fuels.
More than 3,000 acres of state trust forest land burned at high severity last year. Of the 140,000 acres of state trust land burned in 2011, a majority was grassland. Most of the acreage burned in human caused fires.
Ranchers and farmers who lease state land are being urged to clear areas around buildings and to avoid open flames when winds are blowing. Driving in grassy areas also can start fires, so operators of vehicles are being asked to be extra careful.
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