AFR prepares for elevated wildfire risk amid dry, windy conditions

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – If you’ve been outside lately, you’ve likely noticed it has been hotter and much windier – Albuquerque Fire Rescue has taken notice and has been preparing ahead of time for fire season.

"I’d say our spring’s really, really busy for us," AFR Lt. Joseph Kandel said. "As far as what we’re doing, we got a jump start on our refresher training this year and we were pretty much done by the end of March."

AFR’s jump-start is happening because they expect weather patterns to remain dry and windy. All 700 members have completed tests and wildfire refresher training to ensure they’re ready to tackle any flames that may spark – wherever they may occur in the metro. They’ve also started informal patrols.

"If we’re going to have red flags that day, we’re going to have trucks out patrolling," Lt. Kandel said. "Once we get further into the season, we’re going to look at doing our formal patrols where you’re going to see those trucks out every day, no matter what that condition is unless we’re getting an obvious downpour of rain."

So what can you do to help? AFR says to:

  • Keep utilizing open space areas
  • Watch for any illegal activity
  • Remember there’s no open flames – small engines, chainsaws or barbecues – in the Bosque.
  • Call 911 if you see a flame

"When they’re out there, they see these fires start, they call us right away and we can keep them small. That’s going to be critical this year," Lt. Kandel stated. "We have to keep these fires small with these conditions because if they’re allowed to grow, they may very well get out of control very quickly."

AFR says the lack of moisture this winter, record temperatures, high winds and low moisture are all contributing to them getting ready early.