NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – As spring approaches, the U.S. Forest Service wants to make sure community members are prepared for wildfire season. The service’s theme for March is “Spring is Here, Keep Vegetation Cleared.”
The Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources Department of New Mexico has created a guide to prepare homeowners for wildfires. It can be found on their website emnrd.nm.gov. They recommend creating vertical and horizontal spacing among vegetation to reduce the wildfire’s ability to spread. To create more space, trees or brush between large areas should be removed along with lower branches to create vertical spacing.
- Clean up dead vegetation that gets trapped against your house, under your deck, and against fences. Make sure to remove fine fuels, such as pine needles, leaves, or anything else that may ignite when exposed to an ember or flame.
- Replace mulch from around the base of your home with a non-flammable material such as river rock or pea gravel.
- Keep any plants in the five-foot zone irrigated and pruned. Replace vegetation that is woody, dry, or difficult to maintain with low-maintenance, fire-resistant vegetation using this high-elevation, fire-wise planting guide.
- Store firewood, gas cans, lawnmowers, cardboard, or other combustible materials five or more feet away from the outside walls of the house.
The forest service also recommends following local burn ordinances if burning debris from yard cleanup. They also warn community members to avoid burning anything on red-flag warning days.