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Tue March 26, 2013
NM Agency Imposes Smoking Ban On State-Owned Land
State Land Commissioner Ray Powell is prohibiting smoking, open fires and fireworks on state trust land because of the risk of wildfires.
Powell announced the restrictions on Monday. He said the potential for human-caused fires is high because of drought conditions as well as recent high winds.
The Land Office manages nine million acres of state-owned land and 13 million acres of subsurface rights to oil, natural gas and minerals.
Revenue from grazing, mining and oil and gas production on state trust lands helps support public schools and other state institutions.
Powell said the Legislature approved $500,000 for the Land Office starting in July to reduce fire risks by thinning forests and other prevention efforts.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.