EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – This May 5th, the Gila National Forest will implement forest-wide Stage 1 fire restrictions due to the high fire danger and persistent severe fire weather conditions.

What Stage 1 fire restrictions means is igniting, building, maintaining, or using a fire, including charcoal and briquettes is permitted only inside a fire structure that is provided by the Forest Service within designated areas. Smoking is allowed only within a enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site, or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is clear of all flammable material.

“We weigh many aspects before deciding to move in and out of restrictions and closures including coordinating with our local officials and neighboring units. With your help, we can all work together to prevent human-caused wildfires.”

Acting Gila National Forest Supervisor Michael Martinez

Forest managers use numerous criteria before deciding to implement fire restrictions, such as fuel moisture levels, local, regional, and national fire preparedness levels, fire activity, expected weather conditions, the potential for increased human-caused ignitions, availability of resources and significant social, political, and economic impacts.

Violations are punishable by a fine of not more than $5,000 for individuals and $10,000.00 for organizations and/or imprisonment for not more than six (6) months.

Further information regarding fire restrictions may be obtained at the Gila National Forest Supervisor’s office in Silver City, telephone number 575-388-8201.

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