State police detonate box of dynamite
found at El Vado Lake State Park
Around 7:00 p.m. on Friday, April 7, New Mexico state police
detonated eight to ten pounds of dynamite found inside an obscured
box at El Vado Lake State Park, near Chama, New Mexico. They believe
the dynamite was left over from construction of either El Vado Dam
or neighboring Heron Dam, between thirty-five to sixty years ago.
According to New Mexico State Parks, two visitors notified the
park after finding a partially exposed box buried under a tree.
Technicians from the Explosive and Ordinance Disposal Team (state
police bomb squad) were dispatched immediately to evaluate the situation
and determine how and when to safely dispose of the dynamite.
“As a precaution, we will carefully comb through the area
where the dynamite was found to check for similar containers, although
we don't anticipate discovering additional material,” said
park manager Anthony Marquez. “In the meantime, we do advise
visitors of El Vado and Heron Parks to report similar findings immediately
to state police and state parks and to steer clear of such material.”
Department of Public Safety communications director Peter Olson,
says that the bomb squad will often detonate explosives in the location
in which they are discovered, since the contents can be extremely
New Mexico State Forestry was also on scene to control resulting
sparks, which can discharge from dynamite and can ignite a brushfire.
El Vado Dam was constructed in 1935. Heron Dam, owned by the
Bureau of Reclamation, was constructed in 1971.
For more information, contact Erica Asmus-Otero, at (505) 660-7017,
or New Mexico Department of Public Safety communications director
Peter Olson, at (505) 469-5320.
Fire restrictions increase
Beginning April 20, the Mt. Taylor, Mountainair, Magdalena, and
Sandia Ranger Districts of the Cibola National Forest will be under
increased fire restrictions. Forest supervisor Nancy Rose explained,
“Given the record temperatures and severely dry conditions,
we have decided to increase our fire restrictions and not allow
fires of any kind on portions of the Cibola National Forest.”
As always, fireworks are prohibited on all national forest lands.
The following restrictions apply:
• Building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire, campfire,
charcoal broiler, coal, or woodstove is prohibited. Pressurized
liquid or gas stoves, lanterns, and heaters meeting safety specifications
• All personal-use firewood cutting will not be allowed until
further notice. Extensions will be granted to individuals with existing
personal-use permits. Personal-use firewood cutting will recommence
when weather conditions permit.
• All vehicles must remain on Forest roads.
• Smoking is prohibited, except within an enclosed vehicle
Please call one of the following for more information: Mark Chavez,
Cibola National Forest Supervisor’s Office, 346-3900; Sandia
Ranger District, 281-3304; Mountainair Ranger District, 847-2990;
Magdalena Ranger District, 854-2281; Mt. Taylor Ranger District,
Additional fire information for the Southwest
area is available at http://gacc.nifc.gov/swcc/index.htm.
Shortchanging forest-thinning projects is proving
detrimental for state
On April 5 U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman said he is very concerned
that more than 235,000 acres of National Forest fuels reduction
projects in New Mexico are ready for implementation, but sit idle
due to a lack of funds needed for contracts, staff, and equipment.
In a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing, Bingaman
pointed out that New Mexico has had one of the driest winters in
a century and that he is concerned that a backlog of forest thinning
projects in has unnecessarily put the state at risk.
“We have a National Fire Plan which outlines a comprehensive
effort to both prevent and fight forest fires. Unfortunately, this
administration has cut fire preparedness and state and local fire-assistance
funding to the point where it has abandoned critical aspects of
that plan,” Bingaman said.
According to Forest Service information, New Mexico has more than
235,000 acres of NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act)-ready
(i.e., projects that have undergone environmental review, public
notice, comment, and appeals, if any) forest-thinning projects “on
the shelf” and awaiting implementation. In recent years, the
Forest Service has averaged 83,000 acres per year of fuels-reduction
projects in New Mexico, meaning it has nearly three years’
worth of projects ready to implement but for a lack of available
funding, support staff, and equipment.
The following acreage has been approved for New Mexico: 7,800
in Carson National Forest, 111,034 in Gila National Forest, 39,000
in Santa Fe National Forest, 36,360 in Cibola National Forest, and
40,755 in Lincoln National Forest.