Fire Managers encourage Homeowners to create a Defensible Space

Albuquerque, NM, February 15, 2019 - Fire season may seem far off while there are still patches of snow dotting the landscape around Albuquerque, but vegetation will quickly dry out in spring’s warm temperatures, rapidly increasing the potential for wildfires.  This is concerning to fire managers at New Mexico State Forestry and Cibola National Forest and National Grasslands. 


“Many communities around the state where homes are directly adjacent to forested or natural areas are vulnerable to wildfire.  Property owners can take some simple steps to protect their homes and businesses from this risk.” said Steve Hattenbach, Forest Supervisor.  


“Taking the initiative to be well prepared for a wildfire will not only ensure the survivability of your home and property, but also the safety of your family, neighbors, and firefighters,” said Donald Griego, State Forester.  “Programs such as Firewise USATM ; Ready, Set, Go; and Living with Fire are excellent resources that can help New Mexicans understand the risk of wildfire and how to protect themselves.”


This is the perfect time of year to begin creating a defensible space.  This means creating a buffer zone or fire break around the home that is free of grass, shrubs, trees, and other flammable materials such as wood piles.  Starving an approaching wildfire of fuel will help decrease the fire’s intensity and improve the probability of a home surviving the burn. 


Here are a few suggestions for creating a defensible space:

  • Remove dead or dying branches from trees and shrubs around the home.

  • Remove leaves and needles from the roof and gutters.

  • Trim tree branches that are hanging over the roof or chimney.

  • Place wood piles and other combustible materials at least 30 feet from the home.

  • Clear vegetation from around propane tanks.

  • Mow your lawn on a regular basis.

  • Consider planting fire-resistant vegetation around the home.


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