IMPORTANT NOTICE: Effective on Friday, April 13, Sandoval County is imposing a burning ban in all unincorporated areas of the County.

Burning Ban Information

The Sandoval County Fire Department, due to the extremely high winds and dry conditions, has issued bans on open burning in the unincorporated areas of Sandoval County. In addition, during the ban, the Sandoval County Fire Department will no longer issue burn permits of any kind.

The ban took effect this morning, and will remain in effect until further notice.

“Effective immediately, the Sandoval County Fire Department will not be issuing burn permits of any kind in unincorporated Sandoval County,” Fire Chief James Maxon said. “The burn ban is in response to dry conditions and the extremely high winds which significantly increase fire dangers.”

The Sandoval County Fire Department’s ban prohibits all open flame sources such as campfires, cooking burns on grills and agricultural burns. Burning in established fire rings and pits is also prohibited until further notice. Liquid-fueled or gas-fueled stoves, fireplaces within buildings, and charcoal grills at private residences are all allowed under the ban. Anyone found violating the county’s ban on open burning will be subject to arrest and penalties up to and including a $300 fine and 90 days in jail.

“We strongly encourage everyone to be vigilant about fire prevention so a catastrophic fire does not occur within Sandoval County,” said County Fire Chief Maxon.

Sandoval County residents can report illegal burning by calling 505-891-7226.

Burning Rules and Regulations (When the County is not under a Burning Ban)

According to Sandoval County New Mexico Ordinance NO. 10-06-03.9B, “open burning shall be prohibited unless a permit is obtained by request made through the Sandoval County Fire Marshal”. A written or verbal documented permit will be issued at the discretion of the Fire Marshal.

At this time, the Sandoval County Fire Marshal is authorizing small scale burns in unincorporated Sandoval County with the following provisions in place:

  • Burning of brush, slash, or agricultural waste only (ex. tumbleweeds, small sticks, leaves, etc.)
    • Burning of any household materials is AGAINST STATE LAW
  • Burning must take place between the hours of 7 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
    • The fire must be completely extinguished by 4:40 p.m.
  • The burn pile must be no larger than a 3’Hx3’W in size
  • Citizens are allowed to burn on their own property only
  • Safety precautions such as clearing grass, leaves, trees and other flammables from around the burn pile shall be taken
    • Must be 5 feet or more of clearance around the burn pile
  • The burn pile shall be no less than 50 feet away from structures – IFC 2003 307.3
  • Winds may not exceed 7 mph
  • A charged water source/fire extinguisher must be readily accessible
  • A shovel, rake, hoe, etc must be readily accessible
  • The burn pile must be attended at all times
  • All reasonable measures to assure complete combustion and reduce excessive smoke are to be taken
  • A daytime temperature of 85 degrees Fahrenheit or less

If a member of the Sandoval County Fire Department, Sandoval County Sherriff’s Department, or other authorized enforcement agency directs the burn pile to be extinguished, the burn must be extinguished immediately.

Burn Permits

When a request for a burn permit is given, the Fire Marshal or designee may need to see the property/burn pile to ensure safety. The Fire Marshal or designee reserves the right to require additional safety provisions in place before the burn can commence. The Fire Marshal or designee also reserves the right to deny a burn at his/her discretion.

If the burn is allowed, a Sandoval County Fire Department Burn Permit shall be issued. A copy will be left with or sent to the requester for them to have on them at all times during the burn; another copy shall be kept on file with the Fire Marshal or designee for a period of six (6) months.

The Fire Marshal reserves the rights to revoke a burn permit if safety concerns, such as weather, arise that were unforeseen at the time of issuance. Burn Permits are only issued M-F, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. excluding holidays.

Burn Bans

During time of high/extreme fire danger, the Fire Marshal may order a “Burn Ban” requiring ALL burning in the county to cease immediately. The Burn Ban may be for a period of time or indefinitely until conditions approve. Any burning during this time may be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

Reporting Violations

The Sandoval County Fire Marshal, or designee, shall be contacted for any burns that are outside of the above provisions. To contact the Fire Marshal or designee, please send an email to the appropriate Fire Department members below:

  • La Cueva Area and communities near La Cueva including Sierra Los Pinos, Thompson Ridge, Cochiti Mesa and Seven Springs
    • Email Sandoval County District Chief Lee Taylor at lacuevafire@windstream.net
  • For La Madera
    • Email Sandoval County District Chief Joe Gober at gober621@comcast.net
  • For  Zia Pueblo, Torreon, Regina, La Jara, Ponderosa, Canyon, Algodones, Placitas, and Pena Blanca
    • Email the Sandoval County Fire Marshal, Eric Masterson at emasterson@sandovalcountynm.gov

The Fire Marshal or designee can also be contacted at 505-867-4581 or 1-800-898-2876 and follow the prompts. The prompts will connect you via phone to the same Sandoval County Personnel as listed above.