Bureau of Land Management to enact fire restrictions

By Eric Butler: PNT staff writer

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management is enacting annual fire restrictions on its land starting Friday.

In the Roosevelt County countryside, local law enforcement generally follows the cue of other entities when it comes to fire codes, said Roosevelt County Sheriff Darren Hooker. Don’t, however, expect all of the upcoming seasonal restrictions on BLM land to sweep over the rest of the county.

The Bureau of Land Management field office for the Pecos District, which includes land in seven Southeastern New Mexico counties, is instituting three regulations to reduce the threat of fire.

One edict will prohibit smoking on federal land, unless it’s done within the confines of a vehicle or at a developed campground or picnic area.

“The County Commission goes off what restrictions are placed by State Forestry or BLM, and they will sometimes augment that or make it more stringent, depending on the conditions within the county,” Hooker said.

The sheriff nevertheless doubted the limited ban on smoking would be enforced on non-federal land.

Starting Friday, the Pecos District will also prohibit the building, maintaining, attending or use of a fire — including charcoal grills — outside of developed campgrounds or picnic areas.

The third restriction makes unlawful the possession or use of fireworks.

“We did it last year, too,” said Ty Bryson, BLM district fire management officer. “We’ve pretty much had the same restrictions for the past several years. Once we get (wet) enough, they’ll be rescinded; it’s just a matter of time. I think last year, it was early July. That’s when it starts to get a little more rainy.”

However, Roosevelt County BLM land is rather scant. Out of