Burn ban still on through dangerous fire weather

Critical wind conditions expected through Sunday


A burn ban is still in place for folks in the town of Taos and Taos County in the face of both critical fire weather and the continued dry conditions with little relief expected.

Under the rules of the ban, no open pit fires, slash piles or similar outdoor burning is allowed, according to Taos County emergency director Bobby Lucero. Gas grills are permitted. Charcoal grills are also allowed, at least for the time being. 

Due to a combination of expected high winds and critically dry fire weather, the National Weather Service has issued a trio of warnings for the Taos area in the coming days.

A high wind advisory is in effect today (May 11) until 9 p.m.

A "red flag warning" - meaning weather conditions are ripe for dangerous wildfire growth - is also in effect today until 9 p.m. and again Saturday (May 12) between 11 a.m. and 9 p.m. 

"An extended period of critical fire weather conditions will continue today through at least Sunday as a broad low pressure system stalled over the Great Basin strengthens winds over New Mexico," read the warning.

The current town and county burn ban was imposed by fire administrators, but the town council and county commission will likely consider a more long-term ban, with more limited restrictions, in the coming weeks. 

Lucero said that until the dry weather is relieved by some rain, a burn ban will remain in effect. The local ban essentially mirrors the Stage I restrictions currently in place within the Carson National Forest, he said. Fire restrictions have not been imposed on BLM lands in Taos County although they have in Santa Fe County. 

The town has also imposed water restrictions.