With wildfire season just around the corner, now is the perfect time to prepare your home and yard for wildfire. The 2022 Wildfire Preparedness is Year-Round campaign provides monthly wildfire preparedness tasks that follow the changing seasons. The April message from the Bureau of Land Management New Mexico, Fire Adapted New Mexico learning network (FACNM) and our partners is Prepare for Flames and Sparks Before Wildfire Season.
Historically, New Mexico’s fire danger is highest in the spring, when red flag conditions are common. It is important to be prepared before the onset of red flag conditions and reduce your property’s wildfire risk. Taking steps now to harden your home and create defensible space is the best way to reduce the threat of wildfire to you, your family and your community.
Start by focusing on areas around the outside of your house and the exteriors of barns, sheds and other structures where a ground fire could potentially reach your home. When wildfire threatens, low hanging trees, excessive dead vegetation and wood piles next to your house exponentially increase the risk of home ignition.
Visit the national Fire Adapted Communities webpage for ideas to help harden your home against wildfire.
To prepare your home, concentrate on:
- Cut down any dead trees close to your home
- Remove overhanging limbs, especially dead ones
- Thin shrubs throughout your yard and remove dead vegetation
- If shrubs are touching the exterior of your home, replant them further away or make sure they stay green, watered and thinned throughout the fire season
Exterior of Home
- Build or remodel with fire-resistant materials
- Consider using xeriscape landscaping and non-flammable materials within 5 feet of your home
- Remove plants that climb up the wall and under eaves
- Enclose the foundation and undersides of decks and balconies with flame-resistant sheeting or metal screens
- Use fire-resistant decking and outdoor furniture
- Keep deck clear of combustible items like leaves and pine needles
- Relocate wood piles away from structures, including sheds and barns
- Clear at least a 10-foot area around your propane tank. Keep your grill and propane cylinders at least 10 feet from any structure. Never store propane cylinders in the basement, garage or shed. Think about acquiring an outdoor flammables cabinet and clearly label it for firefighters’ knowledge.
Find more tips on protecting your home from a wildfire ember attack here. Other helpful resources include the Ready, Set, Go! Program (video), Living with Fire: A Guide for the Homeowner, New Mexico, and Firewise USA®.
The BLM New Mexico is working with the Forest Stewards Guild, the Fire Adapted New Mexico learning network, Santa Fe, Cibola and Carson National Forests, New Mexico Forestry Division, New Mexico Coalition of Conservation Districts, National Park Service, and Bureau of Indian Affairs, to continue in 2022 a 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.