Carson National Forest to close Thursday, May 19

Release Date: May 17, 2022

Contact(s): Zach Behrens

Carson National Forest managers implemented Stage 3 fire restrictions to close the entire Forest to public entry beginning Thursday, May 19, at 8:00 a.m. Fire danger remains extreme with record conditions only expected to worsen over the foreseeable future.

Forest managers consider several factors before implementing fire restrictions or forest closures, including current fire danger and fire activity, local, regional and national fire preparedness levels, expected weather conditions, availability of firefighting resources, and the economic impacts to businesses and communities. The Forest coordinates fire restrictions and forest closures with federal, state, tribal and local partners.

“The hot and dry conditions we’re experiencing pose a dire risk for wildfires to quickly ignite and spread rapidly,” said Carson National Forest Supervisor James Duran. “Community compliance will be essential for our success in protecting the forest amid these conditions.”

Businesses and communities surrounded by the Carson National Forest will remain open, but campgrounds, trails and National Forest System roads will close. Stage 2 fire restrictions will remain in effect for any entities given permission to enter the forest (e.g. utilities performing critical infrastructure work).

The Camino Real Ranger District closed last week after the Hermits Peak and Calf Canyon Fires crossed over the Forest boundary from the Santa Fe National Forest, which will also close Thursday (a portion of Cibola National Forest will close the same day, too).

The last time the Forest closed was in late June 2018, when conditions were similar. Extreme conditions occurred earlier this year, however, and are already more severe than most on record.

The Forest Order (and its exhibit) implementing the closure will be rescinded after significant moisture has been received and overall conditions improve. At this time, there is no sign of significant precipitation in the near-term forecast. Any short duration rains, cloud cover, cooler temps or higher humidity may only provide temporary relief.

Violations of violating the order are punishable as a Class B misdemeanor by a fine of not more than $5,000 for individuals and $10,000 for organizations and/or by imprisonment for not more than six months. Fire prevention and law enforcement will be patrolling, and anyone who violates Stage 3 restrictions will be ticketed.