Albuquerque, N.M.- The City of Albuquerque will be downgrading Fire Restrictions to Stage I, thereby completely opening the Rio Grande Bosque and Open Space recreational areas for public use, and lifting the Open Burning Ban, effective today, July 16th, at 8:00 a.m.

Upon examination of the current fire indices and other factors, AFD is downgrading to Stage 1 Fire Restrictions and completely opening the Rio Grande State Park (Bosque) and Open Space recreational areas for public use. After increased precipitation which has resulted in an increase of relative humidity and fuel moistures, the Fire Danger Rating is now at the “Moderate” level. However, under the right conditions, wildland fires can still be a threat to our community but environmental conditions have improved to allow for the lowest level of fire restriction.

“With the coming of the Monsoon Season, fire conditions have improved and we are thankful for the efforts of our citizens, local public safety agencies, land management agencies, and open space volunteers in protecting Albuquerque's great natural resources.” Mayor Richard Berry said.

Stage I Restrictions are aimed at preventing the start of wildfires based on human activities that are known to be high risk. At a minimum, Stage I Restrictions are in effect throughout the year in Open Space Areas.

Stage I Fire Restrictions prohibit the following activities in Open Space Areas:

1. Building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, open flame, campfire or stove fire except within a developed recreation site
2. Smoking, except in enclosed vehicles
3. Possessing, discharging or using any kind of fireworks or other pyrotechnic device
4. Possessing or using a motor vehicle off any publicly designated roadways, except when parking in developed parking lots or at developed trailheads
5. Operating a chainsaw or other equipment powered by an internal combustion engine
6. Operating any piece of spark-emitting equipment
7. Operating any internal or external combustion engine
8. Welding, or operating an acetylene or other torch with an open flame
9. Camping or overnight stay

Open Space areas include those lands zoned or designated as open space in the City’s adopted Plan for Major Public Open Space and acquired by the City; Bosque or Bosque Areas; the Rio Grande State Park; wildlands areas and wildlands/urban interface areas; major named arroyos; lined or unlined drain-ways; retention dams and retention pond areas and abutting rights-of-way or easements which have been publicly acquired; and any open lands for which the City has assumed control or management responsibility by lease, easement, or legal agreement.

“Given the nature of the high desert environment, the threat of fire is always present, and it’s critical that our citizens remain mindful of the potential fire danger, be fire wise, and be careful with ignition sources.” Deputy Chief David Downey said.