I am writing to address inaccurate information about city weed-burning regulations that was published via a recent Letter to the Editor. Earlier this year, the city did not eliminate weed burning. What did occur is that the Fire and Rescue Department recommended updates to regulations in order to reference current fire codes and safety practices. These updates were approved by the city’s elected officials.

The current burning regulations, which can be found on the city’s website (rrnm.gov), state the following:

The burning of dead and dry weeds and hot torch weed control on private residential, commercial or industrial property may occur without a permit when preformed in strict compliance with all of the following requirements:

1) Rio Rancho Fire and Rescue has declared a “burn day” and authorized burning prior to the start of a burn; and

2) Rio Rancho Fire and Rescue has declared a “burn day” and authorized burning at all times during the burn; and

3) The burn is conducted between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.; and

4) The pile of dead and dry weeds to be burnt is less than three (3) feet wide, three (3) feet long, and three (3) feet in height; and

5) All burning is conducted at least twenty-five (25) feet away from all structures and combustible material; and

6) Appropriate fire extinguishment equipment is located on site and near the burn area; and

7) All embers that may cause a fire to spread are contained within the burn area; and

8) No hazardous conditions are created on a public road or landing strip due to smoke emitting from the burn; and

9) All smoke from the burn is completely dissipated by 4:30 p.m. on the day of the burn.

The Observer published a story on January 27, 2023, overviewing the regulation updates, with a link to additional information.

James DeFillippo

Rio Rancho Fire & Rescue Chief