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Updated: Sunday, 26 Feb 2012, 12:57 PM MST
Published : Sunday, 26 Feb 2012, 12:57 PM MST
ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - Firefighters are getting a head start on what's expected to be a very active wildfire season.
Last year, wildfires scorched hundreds of thousands of acres statewide.
New Mexico firefighters trained Saturday for the worst, in an area that is so far untouched.
Danger is especially high in the Sandia and Manzano Mountains that's remained untouched so far.
Fire crews clearing trees and brush surrounding more than a dozen homes in Tijeras and the East Mountains could save hundreds of lives.
It is their first step preventing massive wildfires in this target tinder box.
“I think it's very important because it's gotten over grown over the years,” Ronald Dykhuizen said.
Homeowners signed up for the free clear-out, in exchange firefighters gain valuable experience and training.
“It’s dry and there is a lot of houses like this that live in the woods so it's really important to train all the time,” Jason Moore said.
Moore is training to be a wildand firefighter. He and dozens of others including crews from Bernalillo County, Santa Fe and Sate Forestry brushed up on their knowledge, preparing to tackle every aspect of an emergency.
“Don’t get complacent on your safety both the risks around your house and inside your house nobody thinks of an emergency until it happens,” Moore said.
The Bernalillo County fire chief says the Sandias haven't had a catastrophic wildfire in more than 300 years.
He warns the hills are long overdue.