(April 27, 2020)– The Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department Forestry Division, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service emphasize the importance of fire prevention and preparedness.
Know before you go. When planning your outdoor adventure always check for local closures and restrictions, which can change regularly. Variations in policies and mandates between tribal, federal, state, and local governments can cause some differences in the way restrictions are implemented. Visit nmfireinfo.com for current fire restrictions, as well as prevention and preparedness tips, and fire information.
Do your part. Don’t let a wildfire start. The public plays a valuable role in preventing wildfires. On average in N.M., human-caused wildfires make up nearly half of all wildfire occurrences annually. Many of our wildfires initiate from vehicle and equipment use as well as campfires, or debris burning on private property. Use and maintain spark arresters on equipment. Check with your local fire department or County Fire Marshal’s Office before burning and keep up to date with current conditions and weather forecasts. Only have campfires where they are allowed and put them out completely and only leave when it is cold to the touch. When target shooting, choose areas clear of dry grass and shrubs. Secure tow chains and check the condition of tires and brakes. Never pull your vehicle off the road into dry vegetation.
Prepare your home for wildfire. As we find ourselves spending more time close to home, take the time to evaluate the risk around your home and prepare for future wildfires. Taking individual responsibility to reduce flammable materials around homes and communities before a fire occurs can help keep property, the public, and firefighters safe. Rake up dead leaves or needles, pull weeds and mow lawns, trim up your trees, and move anything that will burn away from your home. Creating a buffer between your home and trees, shrubs, undeveloped spaces or other wildland areas, is essential to improving your home’s chance of surviving a wildfire. Not only can this space help slow or stop the spread of wildfire, it also provides a safe place for firefighters to defend your home if conditions allow.
It is up to all of us to make a difference. Contact your local fire department or land-management agency for more information or resources.