Fires And Smoking Banned On NM Trust Land

New Mexico – Fireworks, open fires and smoking are being banned on New Mexico's state trust land until further notice.

New Mexico Land Commissioner Ray Powell announced the ban Monday. It covers 13 million acres of trust land throughout the state.

Powell cites severe drought, high winds and dense fuel loads for the ban. He says those are the ingredients for catastrophic fires throughout New Mexico.

Powell says revenues from state trust land help support public schools, universities and hospitals to the tune of $500 million dollars a year. He says these are dollars families don't have to pay in additional taxes.

Powell says trust lands also provide critical habitat for wildlife and are part of healthy watersheds that communities and farmers and ranchers depend on.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.