The fire danger here is extreme after months of drought. But that alone is not what is causing the Forest Service to close our forest—the beautiful mountain trails that edge Santa Fe to the north east.
It’s the eighty “abandoned” campfires the rangers found after the forest swarmed with visitors last weekend.
We don’t know how to behave in the woods.
- This comes in all flavors:
- The herds of bikes crowding the paths.
- The enormous number of cars, most of them SUVs, jamming the trail heads.
- The noise of chattering groups.
- The persistent problem of cell phones.
- And the lighting and abandoning of campfires which have been expressly forbidden.
“The woods are my cathedral,” a woman walking her dog in the woods for the last time said.
It’s the same for me.
I’ll try to believe that the plants and birds will benefit from this closure. Even the dust will have time to repair itself.
Eventually, in weeks or months, the forest will reopen.