County fire marshal bans open burns

The Santa Fe County fire marshal has banned open burning in the county’s unincorporated areas, citing concerns for COVID-19 patients with breathing difficulties.

The ban, which also is meant to prevent emergency services from becoming strained, will be in effect until further notice.

In a news release, county Fire Marshal Jaome Blay said the ban would reduce the chance of wildfires and eliminate particles and irritants that would exacerbate breathing difficulties.

“Getting ahead of a fire before it happens is the best way to eliminate the dangers wildland fires can cause,” Blay said in an email.

The U.S. Forest Service also has banned campfires in New Mexico, citing concerns of firefighter exposure to the novel coronavirus.

All Santa Fe County burn permits are suspended, and no new permits will be issued. The county will cite anyone found violating the order.

Exceptions to the ban include small recreational fires — no bigger than 3 feet in diameter and 2 feet tall — at least 25 feet away from structures, portable outdoor fireplaces at least 15 feet away from structures and outdoor gas stoves or grills with shutoff valves.

The New Mexican

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