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'Tis the Season for Wildfire Preparation

Entering springtime, there's an opportunity to prepare for the drier conditions and wildfire season.

April is the time to do spring cleaning around your property and create the spacing that can help protect your home.

As the snow melts off, the April message from the Cibola National Forest & National Grasslands, in partnership with the Fire Adapted New Mexico learning network, agencies and non-governmental organizations is to Get Your Home in Condition to Resist Wildfire Ignitions.

By creating vertical and horizontal spacing of vegetation, you may interrupt the ability of wildfire to spread.

It could involve removing some trees or brush to increase the horizontal spacing as well as removing lower branches to increase the vertical spacing from the ground. 

Closer to your home or other structures, embers can land and ignite flammable materials that may destroy or damage them.

To reduce this potential take the following actions: 

Clean up dead vegetation that gets trapped against your house, under your deck, and against fences.

Make sure to remove fine fuels, such as pine needles, leaves or anything else that may ignite when exposed to an ember or flame.  

Replacing the mulch from around the base of your home with a non-flammable material such as river rock or pea gravel is beneficial.

Keep any plants in the 5-foot zone irrigated and pruned. Replace the vegetation that is woody, dry or difficult to maintain with low-maintenance, fire-resistant alternatives.

Store firewood, gas cans, lawn mowers, cardboard or other combustible materials 5 or more feet away from the outside walls of structures. 

When burning debris from the cleanup, follow all local burn ordinances and be aware of current and forecasted weather conditions.

Do not ignite on Red Flag days, when the combination of strong winds, dry air and dry vegetation can be dangerous. 

The Living with Fire: A Guide for the Homeowner is available online for New Mexicans to assist in reducing fire’s threat homes and other structures.

The Guide can be found on the Energy Minerals and Natural Resources departments website at emnrd.nm.gov

Shantar Baxter Clinton is the hourly News Reporter for KSFR. He’s earned an Associates of the Arts from Bard College at Simons Rock and a Bachelors in journalism with a minor in anthropology from the University of Maine.