Wildfire Preparedness Is Year-Round October Message: Don’t be Afraid; Take Preventative Action!

With fall comes the start of another season – prescribed fire season. As we begin smelling smoke, your New Mexico wildfire cooperators want to remind residents and visitors of the important role that fire plays in our forests. Continuing with our “Wildfire Preparedness is Year-Round” campaign, our message for October and Halloween is “Don’t be Afraid, Take Preventive Action.”

Fire-adapted forests across New Mexico historically experienced low-severity wildfire in a way that protected them from widespread mortality and land-type conversion across large acreages. While it is essential that we suppress fires to protect homes and communities, our effectiveness at suppressing all fires over the last 100-plus years has largely removed an important natural disturbance from fire-adapted ecosystems. A healthy forest is a resilient forest that undergoes fire occurrences on a regular basis.

To reintroduce low-severity fire to fire-adapted forests, land managers across New Mexico use prescribed fire under carefully planned conditions that typically align with spring and fall weather. Prescribed fire may be preceded by thinning to reduce tree densities and ensure low-severity fire behavior. Thinning in combination with low-severity prescribed fire is effective at reducing forest fuels and protecting forests and communities from the negative effects of high-severity wildfire.

Prescribed fire, including both pile burning and broadcast burning, achieves a wide range of management objectives, including reducing wildfire risk, improving the growth of native plants in the understory, creating wildlife habitat and protecting water sources. Prescribed fire season is an important time for land managers and private landowners to make progress on the shared goal of creating communities that are better adapted to wildfire.

New Mexico wildland fire management agencies generally post information about upcoming prescribed burns on NM Fire Information and on their Facebook and Twitter (@nmfireinfo) pages. To learn more about prescribed fire:

Wildfire cooperators in New Mexico are working together to bring you these monthly messages including the Cibola National Forest & National Grasslands, the Carson and Santa Fe National Forests, New Mexico Forestry Division, Forest Stewards Guild, Fire Adapted NM, the National Park Service and Bureau of Land Management New Mexico. The group has built a 2021 wildfire preparedness calendar and is sharing the message across multiple platforms, including social media, webinars and community events. Bookmark the wildfire preparedness webpage to follow the campaign throughout the year. Share the message!

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