Los Alamos County Fire Chief Troy Hughes and Fire Marshal Wendy Servey have announced the reopening of certain County-owned trails. Go to interactive online map to find open trails, including paved trails in Los Alamos & White Rock. Map Courtesy LAC
COUNTY NEWS RELEASE
Los Alamos County Fire Chief Troy Hughes and Fire Marshal Wendy Servey are opening some County owned trails for public access during Stage 3 fire restrictions beginning Friday, May 27. Now that the Cerro Pelado fire is more than 90% contained, Fire Department officials have had an opportunity to evaluate the County trail network and determined some trails can be opened for limited access.
Trails opening as part of the amended order include:
Los Alamos –Pueblo Canyon Rim Trail on the north side of the Airport, connecting LA Mesa Trail, which starts at East Park, to Canyon Rim Trail on the south side of NM502 via the new underpass
White Rock – All County owned and maintained trails in White Rock
See the interactive online map to find all open trails, including paved trails in Los Alamos and White Rock.
“We are asking the public to be mindful of the difficulty levels and time required for the trails they choose,” explains Los Alamos County Fire Chief Troy Hughes, “With a little bit of planning, individuals can be better prepared and lower the risk of finding themselves in a precarious position.”
Individuals should plan to exit the trails at least one hour before sunset and consider the terrain and weather. “Some of the White Rock trails – Red Dot/Blue Dot in particular – can be challenging and get very hot in the afternoon sun,” Chief Hughes adds. “Hikers should take water and snack provisions with them and allow enough time to hike back out of the canyon prior to darkness – often 2 to 3 times longer than it took to hike down into the canyon.”
Bandelier National Monument has also opened some trails, including Pueblo Loop, Frey, Tyuonyi Overlook, Falls Trail to the Upper Falls and the Tsankawi Trail. The public is encouraged to visit the National Park and enjoy these sites. Visit the website for detailed information about Stage 3 fire restrictions and open areas. Bandelier is a fee area, and pets are not allowed on Park trails.
All other Los Alamos County, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Santa Fe National Forest and National Parks trails remain closed. Los Alamos County, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and the Santa Fe National Forest remain in Stage 3 fire restrictions due to unprecedented dry conditions and dangerously high risk of fire.
Remain diligent to prevent fire
Fire Marshal Wendy Servey reported Thursday that all fuel moistures continue to remain very low. She added that if a new fire were to start in one of the interior townsite canyons, it could place many homes in the direct path of a wildfire and potentially cut off evacuation routes. The limited opening of trails was based upon fuel type, density, and likely progression of a fire if a new start were to occur. These trails pose less risk than others and can be monitored more easily, yet still possess extremely dry fuels that will spread fire quickly in the event of an ignition.
“The County has never experienced conditions like this before,” Servey explains. “We are seeing single digit 1000-hour fuel (3” to 8” diameter) moisture levels. We are also experiencing higher temperatures with single digit relative humidity during the day, with little to no relative humidity recovery at night. Fire conditions will continue to worsen until we receive enough precipitation to really improve those fuel moisture levels.”
“I cannot stress enough the extreme fire potential conditions we are experiencing,” said Chief Hughes. “We recently responded to an outside fire in White Rock that was ignited by the sun reflecting off some discarded tin foil. It is unfortunate that today we must consider a discarded piece of tin foil as a potential ignition source.”
Recreational users are reminded it is critical to avoid potential fire-starting activities per the Stage 3 restrictions, such as smoking, setting off fireworks, or anything involving a potential heat source. If such activities occur, the trails will again be closed for public use.
Questions or concerns can be submitted at https://lacnm.com/firequestions.