Dry conditions spark extraordinarily early wildfire preparations
January 12, 2018 07:07 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – In January most people are thinking snow storms, not wildfires. But with the continuing dry conditions, it’s probably time to shift that mindset.
U.S. Forest Service District Fire Management Officer Brent Davidson said even though it’s early in the year, the state is susceptible to wildland fires. The Sandia Ranger District upgraded their danger level to "high" on Monday, something that Davidson said we haven’t seen this early in the year in more than a decade.
Bernalillo County Fire Department officials said they’re already gearing up.
“Our guys are prepared even now for wildfire season when normally we’re not ready until April or May,” BCFD Division Chief Danny Valenzula said.
Davidson said they’re not the only ones who need to be prepared. It’s time for homeowners to get their properties ready as well.
The National Weather Service said this is the driest start the state has seen to any year since 2000, and they don’t expect it to get much better.
Those who live in the East Mountains said they’re concerned about the high fire danger so early in the year.
“It’s surprising how much we haven’t gotten, because I remember being a kid and having my dog completely bounding out of the snow. It was so deep and now there’s nothing,” said resident Justin Morgan.
The Albuquerque Fire Department has provided some tips to create a defensible space around your home:
Remove dead vegetation.
Remove lower branches from mature trees to height of eight feet from ground level, as well as small trees and shrubs growing under mature trees.
Remove tree branches within 15 feet of a chimney or stove pipe.
Keep vegetation clear of power lines and decks.
Stack firewood and scrap wood piles at least 50 feet from any structure and clear a way vegetation within 10 feet of the piles.
Check and clean your roof and gutters on all structures several times during the spring and fall to remove debris that can easily ignite from a spark.
Updated: January 12, 2018 07:07 PM
Created: January 12, 2018 06:55 PM
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