Letter To The Editor: Living With Wildfire

By MARK DEVOLDER
Los Alamos

Last night, I heard a portion of the presentation on the Cerro Pelado Fire as well as the new (smaller) fire near Thompson Ridge. The fires are occurring very early in the fire season. In addition, there is the potential for lightning-caused fires until the beginning of the monsoon season in a couple of months. We are in the middle of a drought and need to be concerned not only about this year but next year as  well. 

There is much the Los Alamos County community (that is, Los Alamos and White Rock) can do at this time to prepare if the situation becomes worse.

The following are some issues to consider:

1) It would be a good time to prepare for an evacuation of Los Alamos County. It would be appropriate to gather up financial records, checkbook, keepsakes, cell phone, clothing, blankets, medications, and some food/beverages etc., and store them in the car or have them ready to go out the door. Have a safe place to go.

2) Prepare to move pets, horses, etc. Have trailers, transport cages, feed/food, medications, litter box / litter, blankets, etc. ready to go out the door.

3) Get your vehicle ready to travel (that is, check battery / battery terminals, check fluid levels, check tire pressures, keep fuel tank filled with at least a half tank of gas, keep electric car batteries charged up).

4) If an evacuation does occur, remain as calm as possible. Drive carefully because there are going to be other nervous and distracted folks on the road.

5) COVID-19 is still out there, so be prepared.

6) Spring cleaning to remove combustibles in yards (that is, trash, grasses, dried-up weeds, tree branches, pinecones, etc.) would reduce the potential for homes to burn and would assist firefighting personnel. Los Alamos Eco Station personnel will help with the effort by size-reducing items delivered by the Public.

7) There are many dead / dying conifer trees in Los Alamos. It would help to cut down some of those trees or cut off dead limbs close to the ground.

8) Smoke is a problem now and may get worse. To reduce the impact of smoke, consider sealing leaks in homes with caulk, latex paint, etc.  The effort will not be wasted because it will also reduce infiltration of cold air into homes and keep the interior of homes warmer during the winter.

9) Consider exercising care when smoking cigarettes and discard them in an appropriate container.

10) Use flammable / combustible solvents / chemicals / formulations sparingly, keep containers tightly sealed, and store containers in a safe location.

LOS ALAMOS

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