Extreme fire season expected; officials urge safety
March 28, 2018 07:33 AM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Local, state federal and tribal agencies are getting ready for an extreme fire season.
The New Mexico State Forestry Division says since Jan. 1, there have already been more than 140 wildfires in New Mexico. Of those, 90 percent were human-caused.
Gov. Susana Martinez declared March 25-31 as "New Mexico Wildfire Awareness Week." On Tuesday morning, agency leaders came together to encourage everyone in the state to do their part to prevent forest fires. The theme of this week is, "it’s not a matter of if, but when. Prepare now."
"An abnormally dry winter has left our mountains nearly barren and moderate to extreme drought conditions are nearly covering the entire state," said Lt. Gov. John Sanchez.
KOB has shown residents how they can protect their homes from wildfires, but those who live in town can also help prevent fires. Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller said everyone should follow the fire restrictions in the Bosque. There are no campfires, no camping and no fireworks allowed.
"I want to remind folks these are now very serious offenses in Albuquerque that can result in fines and jail time," Keller said.
He also advised everyone to speak up if they see someone else breaking the rules, and said if someone sees a fire in progress, they should get away from it and call 911.
Director of State Parks Christy Tafoya said each of the 34 state parks has different conditions and levels of fire danger. Before heading out for a family camping trip, she recommends checking for fire restrictions on the New Mexico Parks website.
If campfires are allowed, there are still rules to follow.
"I recommend that if there are designated areas where people can have fires, that they utilize the fire rings and the designated areas to have their campfires and to make sure that they attend their campfires and that they put their campfires out," Tafoya said. "Because that's where a lot of fires start if you have embers that fly off from an unattended campfire, one that wasn't put out correctly."
Before heading out to enjoy the Land of Enchantment, everyone is encouraged to call the statewide toll-free Fire Restriction Hotline at 1-877-864-6985 or check firerestrictions.us.
Updated: March 28, 2018 07:33 AM
Created: March 27, 2018 02:18 PM
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