The Sandoval Signpost

An Independent Monthly Newsmagazine Serving the Community since 1989


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 unstable.

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 are allowed.
• 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 or building.

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, 876-2366.

Additional fire information for the Southwest area is available at

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.



Front Page   Up Front  Animal News   Around Town  Business  Classifieds   Calendar  Community Bits  Community Center  Eco-Beat   Featured Artist  Fire and Rescue The Gauntlet   Community Links  Night Skies  My Wife and Times  Sandoval Arts   Schoolbag  Sheriff's Corner  Time Off  Ask Uncle Duffy   Back Issues   Ad Rates   Contact Us