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Wildfire Preparedness is Year-Round: Resolve to Be Ready

By SFNF

Recognizing that longer, more extreme fire seasons are likely to continue, the Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) is working with partners at other forests, agencies and non-governmental organizations to launch a 2021 campaign to promote wildfire preparedness with a different theme for each month of the year. The message for January: resolve to be ready.

The beginning of a new year, when the risk of wildfire is relatively low, is a good time to start thinking about what you can do now to be ready for fire season later. With most of Northern New Mexico in extreme drought, the 2021 fire season could begin as early as late March/early April. Start learning about living with wildfire and Ready, Set, Go! principles.

Before January ends, make a few more resolutions:

  • Develop an emergency plan: choose a safe place to meet, learn evacuation routes, and establish an out-of-town contact.
  • Take a current photo of you and your pet(s) together in case you get separated during a disaster.
  • Get to know your neighbors and invite them to be a part of your emergency plan.
  • Snap photos of important documents and save them in a secure place or online.
  • Set up group text lists so you can communicate with friends and family during emergencies.
  • Take a class in CPR and first aid.
  • Keep and update emergency supplies, including cash.
  • Have back-up power sources available to charge devices in case of a power outage.
  • Check your insurance for coverage on disasters like wildfire and floods. Snap pictures of your property for insurance purposes.
  • Sign up for emergency alerts and warnings. Download the FEMA app or check with your city or county government to see if they have an alert and notification system in place.

The SFNF is working with the Cibola and CarsonNational Forests, Forest Stewards Guild, Fire Adapted NM, New Mexico Forestry Division and Bureau of Land Management New Mexico State Office to build a 2021 wildfire preparedness calendar and share the message across multiple platforms, including social media, webinars and community events. Bookmark the wildfire preparedness webpage to follow the campaign throughout the year.

Wildfires threaten hundreds of homes in New Mexico every year, especially in the wildland-urban interface (WUI) where development meets fire-prone wildland vegetation. Studies show that many of the homes lost to wildfire could have been saved by advanced planning and preparation. When wildfire strikes, will you be ready? It’s never too soon to ask yourself that question and start taking steps to protect your home and your family.

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