With wildfire risk up, New Mexico supports controlled burns

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico state House has passed unanimously a bill that would reduce liability for landowners who use controlled burns to reduce the risk of wildfires.

The bill eliminates double damages and other liability provisions codified in territorial law in 1882. That was 20 years before New Mexico became a state and about 100 years before residents became aware of global warming.

The state is on track to face severe fire risk in 2021.

This time last year, no part of the state faced “exceptional drought,” the highest level on the USDA drought intensity scale.

Now over half the state does.