Get ready for fire season | National Wildfire Community Preparedness Day
Wildfire preparation graphic

While May 1, 2021, is National Wildfire Community Preparedness Day, the State of New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department wants us to remember that preparedness is year-round with their theme: Don’t Call Mayday! Be Prepared! With wildfires burning in Carson National Forest and near Ruidoso as this is posted, it seems especially apt to take actions on steps to protect our homes. The information below is from a press release sent by the state.

National Wildfire Community Preparedness Day on May 1, 2021, is a single day for organizations and individuals to work together to raise awareness about wildfire risks and promote preparedness. This year with extreme drought and critical fire conditions across New Mexico, wildfire preparedness is more important than ever to protect our communities. The Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department (EMNRD) Forestry Division continues to work with partners at other state and federal agencies, national forests, and nongovernmental organizations on a year-round wildfire preparedness campaign. Our May message for the 2021 wildfire preparedness campaign: Don’t Call Mayday! Be Prepared!

This May, continue working on the Home Ignition Zone by focusing on the extended zone around your property, the perimeter at least 30-100 feet out from your dwelling. The objective in the outer zone is not to eliminate the fire but to interrupt its path and keep flames smaller and on the ground by:

• Disposing of heavy accumulations of ground litter/debris
• Removing dead plant and tree material
• Removing small conifers growing between mature trees
• Removing vegetation adjacent to storage sheds or other outbuildings within this area
• Making sure trees 30 to 60 feet from the home have at least 12 feet of space between canopy tops and trees 60 to 100 feet from the home have at least 6 feet between the canopy tops.

As you get further away from your house, you may begin to encounter neighboring properties. May is a great time to reach out to these neighbors about working together to reduce wildfire risk in your community. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) provides a list of projects homeowners can safely implement on their property this May 1 to avoid gatherings or group events during the COVID-19 pandemic. As fire activity increases in New Mexico, check weather.gov or monitor local weather reports to learn if there is a Red Flag Warning in effect indicating critical fire conditions. The New Mexico Fire Information website nmfireinfo.com is also an excellent resource for details on current fire restrictions and wildfire activity. The EMNRD Forestry Division is working with the Carson, Cibola, and Santa Fe National Forests, Forest Stewards Guild, Fire Adapted NM, and Bureau of Land Management New Mexico State Office to build a 2021 wildfire preparedness calendar and share the message across multiple platforms, including social media, webinars and community events. Bookmark the wildfire preparedness webpage to follow the campaign throughout the year.

This article was posted by Cheryl Fallstead
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