Otero County, NM
 
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of County Commissioners of Otero County 8-8-2013 by Ord. No. 13-04. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Solid waste — See Ch. 190.
STATE LAW REFERENCES
County ordinances — See NMSA 1978, § 4-37-1 et seq.
Penalties for violations of air quality control — See NMSA 1978, § 74-2-14.
Hazardous Waste Act — See NMSA 1978, Ch. 74, Art. 4.
Open burning — See NMAC 20.2.60.
A. 
This chapter shall be known as the "Otero County Open Burning Ordinance."
B. 
Authority. This chapter is executed pursuant to the authority granted to counties to provide for the safety and preserve the health of County residents as set forth in § 4-37-1 et seq., NMSA 1978. It incorporates the applicable provisions of the New Mexico Environment Department regulations, 20.2.60 NMAC.
C. 
Interpretation. The provisions herein are held to include the minimum standards necessary to carry out the purposes of this chapter.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
AFFECTED AREA
Shall be described for the purposes of this chapter as mountains and basin. These areas are further determined by the National Weather Service as Fire Weather Zone 113, which covers the Sacramento Mountains 5,500 feet or above in elevation, and Fire Weather Zone 112, which covers the basin area below 5,500 feet in elevation.
AGRICULTURAL BURNING
Any burning of agricultural products, by-products or agricultural refuse (and is included within the definition of "vegetative materials") by a farmer engaged in the commercial production of agricultural products or by a facility which processes agricultural products.
BONFIRE
A single pile of vegetation, maximum size 20 feet in diameter and 15 feet high, encircled by a noncombustible ring, used by an established organization for ceremonial purposes.
BRUSH PILE
A single pile of vegetation less than 1,000 cubic feet in pile volume, maximum height 10 feet.
LARGE AGRICULTURAL BURN
Greater than 10 acres cumulative of unstacked vegetation.
LARGE CAMPFIRE
A single pile of vegetation less than five feet in diameter and three feet high, encircled by a noncombustible ring, intended for warming or noncommercial cooking of food for human consumption.
MODERATE AGRICULTURAL BURN
One acre up to 10 acres cumulative size of unstacked vegetation.
PILE VOLUME
The gross volume of a pile, including the air space between solid constituents, as calculated from the overall dimensions and shape of the pile.
REFUSE
Any garbage, rejected or waste food, swill, carrion, ashes, dirt, slop, waste paper, trash, rubbish, waste or unwholesome material of any kind.
SMALL AGRICULTURAL BURN
Less than one acre cumulative size of unstacked vegetation.
SMALL CAMPFIRE
A single pile of vegetation less than three feet in diameter and two feet high, encircled by a noncombustible ring, intended for warming or noncommercial cooking of food for human consumption.
VEGETATION
Plant material, including:
A. 
Weeds, grass, grass clippings, leaves, conifer needles, bushes, shrubs, trees, and clippings from bushes, shrubs and trees; and
B. 
Wood waste, clean lumber, wood and wood products, including tree stumps (whole or chipped), trees, tree limbs (whole or chipped), bark, sawdust, chips, scraps, slabs, millings, and shavings, which have not been painted, pigment-stained, or treated with compounds containing chromium, copper, arsenic, pentachlorophenol, or creosote.
A. 
New Mexico Air Quality Regulation 20.2.60 NMAC (Open Burning), promulgated pursuant to the New Mexico Air Quality Control Act, and all open burning regulations promulgated and published pursuant to the New Mexico Solid Waste Act by the New Mexico Environmental Improvement Board (or any successor board, agency, department or division), along with any subsequent revisions or amendments to such regulations, are hereby adopted and incorporated herein by this reference and made a part of this chapter; provided, however, that the penalty provisions provided herein shall apply to violations prosecuted under this chapter.
B. 
Where this chapter is more restrictive than New Mexico State Air Quality Regulation 20.2.60 NMAC, this chapter shall apply.
A. 
This chapter does not apply to:
(1) 
Vegetation burning in a stove, furnace, fireplace or other heating device within a building used for human or animal habitation;
(2) 
Detonation of explosives, including fireworks;
(3) 
Vegetation burning within noncombustible containers for purposes of warming by small wood fires at construction sites;
(4) 
Burning of propane, acetylene, natural gas, gasoline, white gas, or kerosene in a device intended for heating, cooking, construction or maintenance;
(5) 
Open burning of natural gas at gasoline plant and compressor stations and when used or produced in drilling completion or work-over operations on oil and gas wells, when necessary to avoid serious hazards to safety;
(6) 
Burning in wood/charcoal-fired appliances or devices;
(7) 
Burning of structures, buildings, facilities or materials for purposes of instruction and training of bona fide firefighting and fire-rescue personnel is allowed, provided that:
(a) 
All regulated asbestos-containing material is removed and the New Mexico Environment Department is notified prior to burning, in accordance with federal and state regulations (20.2.60 NMAC, Open Burning).
(b) 
Burning of structures for bona fide firefighter training is on private land and is approved by the Otero County Office of Emergency Services.
B. 
This chapter does not affect federal and tribal land that is under federal fire management control.
C. 
Only vegetative materials are approved for burning in accordance with this regulation as outlined below.
D. 
In lieu of containerized water listed below, a garden hose with an equivalent amount of water capacity available and a minimum flow rate of five gallons per minute is acceptable.
Burning of the following materials is prohibited unless in a licensed facility designed for the destruction and incineration of these materials:
A. 
Refuse, other than vegetative material and clean wood;
B. 
Paper, including newspaper, corrugated cardboard, container board, and office paper;
C. 
Asbestos or asbestos-containing materials;
D. 
Any plastic material, including but not limited to nylon, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), polystyrene, polyurethane, synthetic fabrics, plastic containers, and plastic sheeting, films and bags, except as provided in § 111-4;
E. 
Waste oil or other oily wastes;
F. 
Asphalt and products containing asphalt;
G. 
Treated or painted wood, including but not limited to railroad ties, plywood, chipboard, composite wood products or other wood products that are painted, varnished, or treated with preservatives;
H. 
Rubber, including tires and synthetic rubber-like products;
I. 
Insulated wire or cable;
J. 
Batteries;
K. 
Motor vehicle bodies or interiors;
L. 
Pathogenic wastes;
M. 
Animal carcasses.
A. 
Burning shall not commence until one hour after sunrise, and fires shall be extinguished by sunset, unless stipulated differently in another section of this chapter.
B. 
Prior to burning, the outdoor burn checklist provided by Otero County shall be reviewed and completed by the landowner. Copies of the checklist will be distributed throughout the County and will be available at the County Administration Office or online at co.otero.nm.us.
(1) 
Brush pile burning of vegetation is permitted, unless otherwise prohibited as outlined in § 111-7, under the following conditions:
(a) 
In accordance twith the time of day listed above.
(b) 
With approval of the landowner.
(c) 
Continuously attended.
(d) 
Monitored by an adult.
(e) 
If within 300 feet of a structure, at least 50 gallons of water must be available and the pile being burned cannot exceed 125 cubic feet.
(f) 
Notify the Otero County Sheriff's office at 437-2210 or 1-800-874-3743 prior to ignition and when completed.
(g) 
Ensure the fire is monitored for 1/2 hour after extinguishment.
(2) 
Small agricultural vegetation burning is permitted, unless otherwise banned as outlined in § 111-7, under the following conditions:
(a) 
In accordance with the time of day listed above.
(b) 
With approval of the landowner.
(c) 
Continuously attended.
(d) 
Monitored by an adult.
(e) 
If within 300 feet of a structure, at least 50 gallons of water must be available.
(f) 
Notify the Otero County Sheriff's office at 437-2210 or 1-800-874-3743 prior to ignition and when completed.
(g) 
Ensure the fire is monitored for 1/2 hour after extinguishment.
(h) 
Notify adjacent landowners.
(3) 
Moderate agricultural vegetation burning is permitted, unless otherwise banned as outlined § 111-7, under the following conditions:
(a) 
Ignition can only take place between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 12:00 noon.
(b) 
With approval of the landowner.
(c) 
Continuously attended and monitored by an adult.
(d) 
If within 300 feet of a structure, at least 50 gallons of water must be available.
(e) 
Notify the Otero County Sheriff's office at 437-2210 or 1-800-874-3743 prior to ignition and when completed.
(f) 
Ensure the fire is monitored continuously and until one hour after declared out.
(g) 
Notify adjacent landowners.
(h) 
A fire break of noncombustible material equal to 1.5 times the height of the fuel must be provided to areas extending beyond 10 acres and property adjacent to the area to be burned unless relieved by other permit restrictions.
(i) 
With a review by the Local Fire Chief and, if deemed necessary, a permit as outlined below.
(j) 
In accordance with the New Mexico Smoke Management Program: Contact the Air Quality Bureau at 1-800-224-7009.
(4) 
Large agricultural vegetation burning is permitted, unless otherwise banned as outlined in § 111-7, under the following conditions:
(a) 
A fire break of noncombustible material equal to 1.5 times the height of the fuel must be provided around the burn area unless relieved by other permit restrictions.
(b) 
Notify the Otero County Sheriff's office at 437-2210 or 1-800-874-3743 prior to ignition and when completed.
(c) 
In accordance with the New Mexico Smoke Management Program: Contact the Air Quality Bureau at 1-800-224-7009.
(5) 
Small campfires are permitted regardless of the time of day listed above when continuously attended, with a minimum of five gallons of water and a shovel/stir on hand, except when banned as outlined in § 111-7.
(6) 
Large campfires are permitted regardless of the time of day listed above when continuously attended, with a minimum of five gallons of water and a shovel/stir on hand, except when banned as outlined in § 111-7, with the following conditions:
(a) 
With approval of the landowner.
(b) 
Continuously monitored by an adult.
(c) 
Notify the Otero County Sheriff's office at 437-2210 or 1-800-874-3743 prior to ignition and when completed.
(d) 
Ensure the fire is completely out and is monitored for 1/2 hour after.
(7) 
Bonfires are permitted, unless otherwise banned as outlined in § 111-7, under the following conditions:
(a) 
A fire break of noncombustible material equal to 1.5 times the height of the fuel must be provided around the burn area unless relieved by other permit restrictions.
(b) 
Notify the Otero County Sheriff's office at 437-2210 or 1-800-874-3743 prior to ignition and when completed.
All outdoor vegetative burning, including campfires, is prohibited under any one or more of the following conditions:
A. 
Within 12 hours of the issuance by the National Weather Service of a red flag warning for any affected areas within Otero County.
B. 
On days when the National Weather Services has issued a high-wind advisory for any affected part of Otero County.
C. 
The Otero County Office of Emergency Services may issue a burn ban for all or part of the County at any time based on weather, fuel load, or fuel moisture if, in the belief of the County, a catastrophic fire could occur due to a burn getting out of control or from flying embers. These bans must be provided in writing to the County Administration and the Sheriff's office and cannot extend beyond 21 days without approval by the County Commission.
D. 
If prohibited by a burn ban resolution issued by the County Commission.
A. 
Any person who commits any of the above prohibited acts shall be subject to the following penalties:
(1) 
In accordance with § 4-37-3 NMSA 1978, a fine of up to $300, imprisonment of up to 90 days, or both.
(2) 
No more than $1,000 for discarding or disposing of refuse, litter or garbage on public or private property in any manner other than by disposing of it in an authorized landfill.
(3) 
No more than $5,000 for the improper or illegal disposal of hazardous materials or waste in any manner other than as provided for in the Hazardous Waste Act (Chapter 74, Article 4, NMSA 1978).
B. 
Under state law (§ 74-2-14 NMSA), violation of the open burning regulation is a petty misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $500.
C. 
Citations for violations may be issued by the County Code Enforcement Officer, Sheriff or any Deputy Sheriff.