Pajarito Mountain Road Closed

Effective Thursday, May 19, the road to Pajarito Mountain has been closed by the Santa Fe National Forest, due to Stage III Fire Restrictions and complete closure of the forests. At this time, all summer operations are on hold until further notice, including Summerfest, chairlift service, bike and hike, lift-served downhill mountain biking, hiking on the mountain, cafe operations, and retail operations. Pajarito Mountain is continuing to advocate for summer operations and will update the mountain blog, website and social media with further information as updates become available. 

The Los Alamos Reporter recently reported:

Los Alamos Fire Chief Hughes noted that Cibola National Forest, Carson National Forest and Santa Fe National Forest all are going to Stage 3 Thursday morning at 8 a.m.

“Every forest surrounding us, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and Los Alamos County now are all going to be in Stage 3. There’s a lot of reasons behind it and we do get a lot of feedback from our local hikers and bikers that would like to be out in the forest and we realize they’re safe people that are concerned about the environment and not typically fire starters but our concern and that of the Forest Service, is that people that are out on a trail, and with any wind at all, the rate of progression on a fire right now is so quick and so fast and we do have unfortunately unburned pockets in Los Alamos that we can’t ensure the safety of somebody that’s even half a mile, a quarter of a mile, or even a mile out. They may not be able to get out,” he said.

Hughes said fire spread rates on other fires throughout the state with similar fuels have moved at least one mile in one minute, which means a 60 mph advancement forward on these fires in consistent fuel pockets.

“We’re obviously very concerned with the Forest Service closing that all their properties will have some impact on Los Alamos obviously. A lot of the trails that we have in Los Alamos are connected to or are solely National Forest trails so with that closure that closes all of our trails. LANL has closed all theirs. LANL trails connect to County property so we’re all closed for now,” he said.

Hughes noted that a lot of [feedback has] been received at the fire department but that thee won’t be a change with regard to Stage 3 restrictions until conditions change.

“We listened to a lot of people state-wide and nationally that told us it’s the right thing to do, and obviously with all three national forests in New Mexico going that route, we feel it’s good to get aligned with them and follow those practices so that’s where we’ll be,” he said.

Hughes said Santa Fe National Forest has decided to close the road to the Pajarito Mountain Ski Area.

“They are still going to allow access so that we can go up there and do maintenance on our cell tower and our communications towers and the ski hill staff can go up there and make sure the building is okay because obviously we don’t want that to deteriorate and have a fire, so we do want somebody checking on it, but they’re going to limit access only for essential things up that road,” he said.