Legislator seeks to ban springtime burns like the ones that sparked the state’s largest wildfire

By Ryan Lowery
Source New Mexico
January 5, 2023
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Two fires set by federal agencies last year meant to reduce hazardous fuels ultimately grew out of control and led to the largest wildfire in New Mexico history. This week, Sen. Ron Griggs, a Republican from Alamogordo, prefiled legislation aimed at making these types of government-managed burns illegal from the beginning of March to the end of May each year.  Private landowners would still be allowed to conduct burns on their property under certain circumstances. The proposed bill would allow private landowners to light prescribed burns on their land unless a state forest official, county or municipality has issued fire restrictions due to drought conditions. The bill also details that any prescribed burn conducted by private landowners must be undertaken with precautionary measures — sufficient personnel and equipment, notification of local fire officials, burn and contingency plans, and techniques “that cause the fire to be confined to a predetermined area.”

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