Wildfire Preparedness is Year-Round: Risk and Danger in the Post-Fire Environment

Release Date: Aug 4, 2022

SANTA FE, NM – August 4, 2022 – The recent devastating wildfires and subsequent flash flooding are fresh in the minds of many New Mexicans - it can feel debilitating to grieve the loss of lives and property while the risk of danger remains. There are a number of services available and actions that can be taken to help protect families and property in fire-affected areas. In cooperation with our partners, the Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) is sharing the “Wildfire Preparedness is Year-Round” campaign message for August: Risk and Danger in the Post-Fire Environment.

After Wildfire, A Guide for New Mexico Communities | Afterwildfirenm.org/ has been developed to assist individuals and communities following a wildfire. The guide is designed to help residents plan ahead for flooding and erosion. The guide includes information on personal and family safety, community mobilization, post-fire treatments, financial tips, flood information and additional resources such as caring for pets or livestock post-fire.

Both during and after a wildfire, immediate safety should be the first consideration. After a fire, flash flooding, structural damage, debris flows, road instability or tree damage may occur. It is critical to check with local officials before re-entering an area to ensure it is safe to do so.  Additional tips include:

  • Stay away from arroyos and channels. Flooding or debris flows can be sudden, and ditches can be deadly.
  • Keep a battery-powered radio to listen to weather and flash flooding alerts if you lose power.
  • Have an evacuation plan in place and make sure all family members practice it.
  • Only return home once authorities say it is safe to do so.
  • Do not drink or use faucet water after flooding until officials say it is safe to do so.
  • Use caution around trees and power poles, and never touch power lines.
  • Contact utility and gas companies prior to turning on any utilities that are not functioning or off.
  • Document damage and contact your insurance company prior to beginning clean-up efforts.

New Mexico’s local Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) may be able to provide help after a wildfire or post-fire impacts. For a listing of SWCDs, visit the New Mexico Association of Conservation Districts (NMACD) website.

The SFNF is working with the Cibola and Carson National Forests, Forest Stewards Guild, Fire Adapted NM, New Mexico Forestry Division, New Mexico Association of Conservation Districts, National Park Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, and Bureau of Land Management New Mexico to continue our wildfire preparedness calendar in 2022 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.

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