Beginning May 3, the Village of Questa and Questa Fire Department imposed temporary fire restrictions within Questa Village limits. With current weather conditions and firefighting personnel and resources now devoted to containing forest fires in the state, officials at the Questa Fire Department and the Village of Questa together made the decision that it is best to impose these restrictions until weather conditions improve. As of press time, these restrictions are still in place.
“The safety of our community members is our number one priority, and we will do everything we can to protect them and their properties,” stated Questa Mayor John Ortega. “Chief Alfredo Romero, Assistant Chief Raynelle Sanchez-Cordova… felt this is what was best for the Questa community right now.”
The Village of Questa, consistent with its authority to provide for the safety and to preserve the health of the residents of this village and pursuant to NMSA 1978, Sections 3-37-1 and 59A-52-l 8 and Village of Questa Ordinance No. 2006-128, the following restrictions are being imposed effective immediately:
- Building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire, campfire, charcoal, coal, or wood stove. Allowed: The use of petroleum-fueled stoves, lanterns or heating devices are allowed provided such devices meet the fire underwriter’s specifications for safety and they are used in areas free of flammable materials.
- Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site/improved site or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable materials.
- The use/discharge of fireworks of any kind, or incendiary, chemical, or pyrotechnic devices.
- Cutting or grinding metal, or using a welder, either arc or gas, or operating acetylene or other
torch with open flame, except in areas cleared of flammable materials at least 10 feet in diameter and equipped with a chemical pressurized fire extinguisher of not less than 8 ounces or 5 gallons of water and one round point shovel with an overall length of at least 36 inches.
- Operating a chainsaw or any other internal or external combustion engine without a USDA or SAE approved spark arrestor properly installed and working, a chemical pressurized fire extinguisher of not less than 8 ounces capacity by weight, and one round point shovel with an overall length of at least 36 inches.
- Target shooting, except with a chemical pressurized fire extinguisher of not less than 8 ounces or 5 gallons of water and one round point shovel with an overall length of at least 36 inches. The use of tracer and incendiary ammunition is always prohibited. Allowed: All lawful hunting activities.
- Possessing or using a motor vehicle off road, except when parking in an area devoid of vegetation within 10 feet of the roadway. Allowed: Off-road use in established OHV areas.
- The use of any aerial luminaries, sky lanterns, wish lanterns, balloons or other items that are smoldering or have open flame attached for propulsion.
Any federal, state, local and/or military employee acting within the scope of their duties; members of any organized rescue or firefighting force performing official duty; and persons, agencies, municipalities, or companies with a written permit that specifically authorizes the otherwise prohibited act. An exemption does not absolve an individual or organization from liability or responsibility for any fire started by an exempted activity.
Any violation of this order is a misdemeanor and subject to punishment by a fine of $300 plus court fees, and restitution for total costs of fire suppression or damage will be borne by the violator.