By Santa Fe Fire-shed Coalition
The 2019 Wildfire Risk Report from Core Logic, an industry analytics firm, recently ranked Santa Fe 12th out of the top 15 metropolitan areas in the Western United States for high and extreme wildfire risk to structures. According to the report, 23,546 homes in the Santa Fe area face high to extreme wildfire risk and are “the most likely to sustain damage or be destroyed during a wildfire event.” These are homes that are typically “within or immediately adjacent to areas of high-risk vegetation in locations where high intensity wildfires have a tendency to reoccur.”
The Greater Santa Fe Fireshed Coalition(GSFFC) was formed in 2016 to address this complex issue and works with homeowners and emergency professionals to mitigate risk to property. High-risk properties are often found in the wildland-urban interface (WUI) – houses on the edge of a metropolitan area near vegetation and terrain that are conducive to catastrophic wildfires. Homes in the WUI face particular risk due to their location near forest vegetation and the potential for an ember ignition from a nearby wildfire.
The GSFFC works both with individual homeowners to reduce their personal wildfire risk and with Coalition partners to restore forest health across the broader landscape. The GSFFC’s uses a science-based framework to reduce the possibility of a large-scale catastrophic wildfire that could threaten homes, water resources, wildlife, tourism and the economy of the Santa Fe area.
The CoreLogic report estimates the reconstruction cost for Santa Fe’s highest-risk structures to be a startling $7.28 billion. The GSFFC provides resources to residents to understand their homes’ vulnerability and prepare for wildfire. The Fireshed Ambassador program builds community by helping neighbors help neighbors.
The GSFFC brings municipal, county, state, federal, and non-profit partners together to help implement the National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy in the southern Sangre de Cristo Mountains. One of the key Coalition partners is the City of Santa Fe Water Division, which manages the forested municipal watershed that on average provides 40% of Santa Fe’s drinking water. In August, 70% of the city’s drinking water supply came from the fire-prone watershed within the Santa Fe National Forest.
For more information about the important work the GSFFC is doing in the Santa Fe Fireshed, visit www.santafefirshed.org. If you live in a wildfire-prone area, contact your neighborhood Fireshed Ambassador, and if you don’t have one, you should become one! To find out if your house falls within a hazard area, visit the City Fire Department’s map of hazard areas.
For more information call/text 505-470-0185.
The GSFFC is a coalition of public and private organizations. The GSFFC operates informally to support its partners, and is not incorporated as a non-profit, 501(c)(3), partnership, or other legal status.