National Forest On High Fire Danger, Issues Safety Reminder For Easter Weekend


Forest visitors planning to spend Easter weekend on the Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) are reminded to take precautions by following One Less Spark guidelines and Smokey Bear’s Campfire Safety rules.

All ranger districts on the SFNF are at HIGH fire danger as New Mexico and Arizona shifted to wildland fire Preparedness Level 3 on a scale of 1 to 5. Preparedness levels are based on fuel and weather conditions, fire activity and resource availability. Currently there are no fire restrictions on the SFNF, but with an early start to the 2022 wildfire season amid ongoing drought, use extreme caution around fire. Never leave your campfire unattended, and make sure the fire is completely extinguished and cold to the touch before you leave.

Some recreational activities will be impacted by closure orders that are in place to protect public health and safety. There is a closure order for the Hermits Peak Fire which is burning in the Pecos Wilderness approximately 12 miles northwest of Las Vegas, NM. The Rio en Medio Trail #163 about 14 miles north of Santa Fe, NM, is still closed due to the Medio Fire that burned in August 2020. All current closure orders are posted on the SFNF Alerts and Notices page.

Dogs are welcome on the SFNF, but owners are responsible for the safety of their pets and other visitors. National Forest Service guidelines require pets to be on a leash no longer than six feet at all times in developed recreation areas, parking lots and on interpretive trails.  In general, dogs should always be under the owner’s command. Be sensitive to the fact that other visitors, especially children, may not be comfortable around dogs, and don’t let your dog wander off trail where it might encounter wildlife. And yes, even though you are in the woods, you still have to clean up after your dog. 

The forest is home to many wildlife species, and it’s always a good idea to remember to keep wildlife wild so they don’t become habituated to humans. Photograph and watch wildlife from a safe distance. Black bears are active and searching for food after their winter rest. Be bear aware and know what to do if you do encounter a bear. If you are camping, store food and trash in bear-resistant containers away from your tent. Keep your pets secured. The SFNF is also home to mountain lions. Review safety tips from the Mountain Lion Foundation.

Finally, whether you are just out for the day or planning to stay overnight, always let someone know your plans, including your itinerary and when you expect to return home. Do not rely on cell phones for safety because you may not always have cell coverage in remote sections of the forest.

If you plan to visit the Santa Fe National Forest over the weekend, Know Before You Go and “Be Outdoor Safe.” Stay up to date on SFNF news by checking the SFNF website and following us on Facebook and Twitter. For fire information across the state, visit InciWeb or NM Fire Information.