Open burning banned in Valencia County
By Clara Garcia
Effective immediately, open burning has been banned in the unincorporated areas of Valencia County.
The county commission approved an emergency ordinance Wednesday, declaring an emergency and prohibiting all open and controlled burning in the county. Valencia County Fire Chief Steven Gonzales said he recommended the approval of the ordinance after New Mexico State Forestry announced restrictions on fireworks, smoking campfires and open fires across the state in all non-municipal, non-federal and non-tribal lands in New Mexico.
“We’re trying to be proactive because of the decreased amount of rainfall and the amount of water for farmers from the conservancy district,” Gonzales said.
According to state forestry, the Middle Rio Grande Valley has been categorized as having exceptional drought conditions, which has the potential for catastrophic wildfires.
The ban prohibits all outdoor burning, including the following types of burning:
• Campfires (Mean a fire set for cooking, warming or ceremonial purposes, which is not more than three feet in diameter by three-feet high, and has had the ground five feet from the base of the fire cleared of all combustible material);
• Open fires;
• Open burning of vegetation or rubbish;
• Any other smoke-producing substance and material that creates a fire safety hazard;
• Trash barrel burning; and
• Agricultural burning
Anyone found guilty of violating the open-burn ban ordinance can face up to a $300 fine and/or 90 days in jail.
The ordinance will be in effect until rescinded by Gonzales, who will determine when favorable conditions exists.
Read Thursday’s edition of the News-Bulletin for a complete story.
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