ALBUQUERQUE – More national forests are imposing fire restrictions as New Mexico waits for some much needed rain.
The Cibola National Forest is implementing the first stage of restrictions Friday on the Mount Taylor, Magdalena, Mountainair and Sandia ranger districts. That means no campfires or fireworks and smoking is limited to only developed recreation sites, barren areas or inside vehicles or buildings.
The Carson and Santa Fe national forests also are enacting restrictions, and officials on the Gila National Forest in southwestern New Mexico are warning that the fire danger level is high to very high for the region.
Officials say the risk of unseasonal wildfires across New Mexico is widespread, with a below average summer monsoon season and continuous dry fall being among the contributing factors.
Forecasters with the National Weather Service in Albuquerque offered a glimmer of hope Thursday, saying confidence is growing for a major change that could bring colder temperatures and widespread snow and rain starting Sunday night and stretching into Tuesday.
However, the longer-term outlook indicates warmer and drier than normal weather for New Mexico through the cool season because of La Niña. Forecasters are warning that the ongoing drought could worsen, even with the chance for precipitation early next week.