New Mexico’s wildfire season is here. When wildfires start they can quickly spread. Depending on the fire conditions, officials will call for evacuations. New Mexico Fire has created a guide on what you need to prepare for.
To download the checklist, visit https://nmfireinfo.files.wordpress.com/2017/08/new-mexico-guide-20171.pdf.
What to do before evacuation
- Dress in appropriate clothing (i.e., clothing made from natural fibers, such as cotton, and work boots). Have goggles and a dry bandana or particle mask handy
- Ensure that you have your emergency supply kit on hand that includes all necessary items, such as a battery-powered radio, spare batteries, emergency contact numbers, and a lot of drinking water.
- Remain close to your house, drink plenty of water, and ensure your family and pets are accounted for until you are ready to leave.
Inside checklist, if time allows:
- Close all windows and doors, leaving them unlocked.
- Remove all shades and curtains from windows.
- Move furniture to the center of the room, away from windows and doors.
- Turn off pilot lights and air conditioning.
- Leave your lights on so firefighters can see your house under smoky conditions.
Outside checklist if time allows:
- Bring combustible items from the exterior of the house inside (patio furniture, children’s toys, door mats). If you have a pool, place combustible items in the water.
- Turn off propane tanks and other gas at the meter.
- Don’t leave sprinklers on or water running. They can affect critical water pressure.
- Leave exterior lights on.
- Back your car into the driveway to facilitate a quick departure. Shut doors and roll-up windows.
- Have a ladder available.
- Patrol your property and extinguish all small fires until you leave.
- Cover attic and ground vents with pre-cut plywood or commercial seas if time permits.
Emergency Supply List
The New Mexico Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management recommends that families have three types of emergency supply kits assembled before a wildfire starts. 1 kit at home, 1 kit in the car, and 1 kit per individual that is portable.
- Each kit should have a 3-day supply of water (1 gallon per person, per day) and non-perishable food for a 3-day supply.
- First aid kit and sanitation supplies.
- Flashlight, battery-powered radio, and extra batteries.
- An extra set of car keys, credit cards, and cash.
- Extra eyeglasses, contact lenses, prescriptions, and medications.
- Important family documents like insurance documents and proof of residence.
- Easily carried valuables and irreplaceable items.
- Personal electronic devices and charges.
- Keep a pair of comfortable shoes and flashlight handy.
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties (for personal sanitation)
- Wrench or pliers
- Manual can opener
- Local maps
- Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery
For more information on basic kit supplies, visit https://www.ready.gov/kit
When to Leave
According to the NM Fire guide, do not wait to be advised to leave if there is a possible threat to your home or evacuation route. Leave as early as you can to avoid being caught in the fire.
Where to Go
Leave to a predetermined location. Fire officials will be sending out information on evacuation areas for residents.
Protect Your Home
When it comes to protecting your home from wildfires, it first begins with creating a buffer between the structure and the wildland area. To help protect your home, create three zones.
Zone 1: 0-30 feet around your home or to the property line.
- Use hard surfaces and noncombustible, such as concrete or gravel, 0-5 feet around the home.
- Use non-woody, low-growing herbaceous vegetation. Succulent plants and ground covers are good choices.
- Store firewood and other combustible materials at least 30 feet away from the home.
- In fire season, trim back touching or over-handing branches from the roof to a distance of at least 10 feet.
Zone 2: 30-100 feet around your home or to the property line.
- Remove ladder fuels to create a separation between low-level vegetation and tree branches to keep the fire from climbing trees.
- Remove leaf and needle debris from the yard.
- Keep grass and wildflowers under 8-inches.
Zone 3: 100-200 feet around your home or to the property line
- Create and maintain a minimum of 10 feet between the tops of trees.
- Remove ladder fuels, creating a separation between low-level vegetation and tree branches to keep the fire from climbing up trees.
- Remove dead trees and shrubs.