SANTA FE — Although much of New Mexico continues to receive monsoonal moisture, other western states are battling historic wildfires under drought conditions.
While maintaining our own wildfire response readiness, New Mexico fire resources are supporting the national effort. With the national wildland preparedness level at 5, the highest level, the 2021 fire season has the potential to exhaust national wildland firefighting resources.
Now is not the time to let our guard down in New Mexico. Despite the recent rain, conditions can change quickly with the warm, dry weather typical of September and the long-term effects of drought. Continuing our “wildfire preparedness is year-round” campaign, our message for September is Give firefighters a break! Stop fires before they start!
You can prevent wildfires caused by vehicles by taking some simple actions. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Is your vehicle and trailer road-ready? Conduct a pre-trip inspection and ensure all necessary maintenance has been completed.
- Check tire lug nuts to ensure proper torque so your tires are secure.
- Grease trailer wheel bearings so they don’t overheat.
- Improperly inflated tires or those in degraded condition may fail, causing the rim to drag and spark.
- Don’t overload your trailer’s weight ratings. Axles can bend and cause tire or axle failure.
- Ensure trailer chains are not dragging on the ground.
- Brakes worn too thin may cause metal-to-metal contact and spark. Trailer brakes can also seize up and overheat.
- Never park or drive over dry grass or brush.
- Utility vehicles (UTVs) and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) can start wildfires. Be sure to clean out any vegetation accumulated underneath and conduct regular maintenance. Always carry a fire extinguisher.
- Carry a fire extinguisher (ABC 10 lb. or larger), a shovel and extra water in your vehicle. You can stop a fire before it becomes a wildfire with these tools.
- Extinguish all smoking materials and dispose of ashes and butts in appropriate trash receptacles.
- If a fire starts, report it to 9-1-1 immediately.
The SFNF is working with the Cibola and Carson National Forests, New Mexico Forestry Division, Forest Stewards Guild, Fire Adapted NM 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 on facnm.org to follow the campaign throughout the year and catch up with earlier posts.