Hazard tree. Courtesy/wikipedia
High wind warnings across much of northern New Mexico are likely to increase risks from falling trees.
Visitors to the Santa Fe National Forest are urged to use extra caution, especially in areas that have been severely burned by wildfire, which are especially prone to hazard trees.
Hazard trees are trees that pose a danger to people or property as a result of structural defects caused by age, fire or disease.
Wind gusts from 50 to 70 miles per hour can substantially increase the risk of both dead and green trees falling.
Stay safe in the forest by following these suggestions:
- Remember that falling trees are always a hazard when traveling in the forest.
- Be aware of your surroundings and look up when hiking on trails.
- Avoid parking or camping in areas where trees could fall.
- Avoid dense patches of dead trees.
- Live trees can also break or fall in high winds, especially when soil is moist.
- Stay out of the forest when there are strong winds that could blow down trees. If you are already in the forest when the winds kick up, head to a clearing out of reach of potential falling trees.
- When driving in remote areas of the forest, park close to a main road rather than on a spur or one-way section. Carrying an ax or saw in your vehicle will help you avoid being trapped if a tree falls across the road.
- Do not rely on cell phones for safety because you may not always have cell coverage in remote sections of the forest.