Wildfire Preparedness is Year-Round: Prune Your Trees for Those Hotter Degrees!!

Recognizing that longer, more extreme fire seasons are likely to continue, preparing our homes, properties, and communities for wildfire is more important than ever. The 2022 Wildfire Preparedness is Year-Round campaign provides monthly wildfire preparedness tasks that follow the changing seasons. The February message from the Bureau of Land Management New Mexico, and partners at national forests, agencies, and non-governmental organizations is Prune Your Trees for Those Hotter Degrees!

Removing trees and other vegetation from around your home can have a positive effect on how flames and embers will behave in the event of a wildfire. This month, follow the guidance of the National Fire Protection Association to prepare your Home Ignition Zone for wildfire. Preparing your home ignition zone may involve removing some trees to increase the horizontal spacing between trees as well as removing lower branches to increase the vertical spacing from the ground to the canopy of the trees. Removing trees completely to increase horizontal spacing can be done at any time of the year. However, the late winter month of February is a particularly good time to increase vertical spacing by thinning lower branches because trees are dormant in the winter, making them less susceptible to insects or disease.

These guidelines can make even first-timers feel confident they won’t damage their trees:

  • Learn about your specific vegetation by exploring NMSU Extension’s Yard and Garden page, or by reaching out to a Soil and Water Conservation District near you.
  • Start with sharp pruners, loppers or a saw.
  • Remove any branches that are crossed over or rubbing.
  • Remove all damaged or dying branches that look diseased.
  • Dispose of wood offsite or safely burn it, especially if wood may be diseased.

The BLM New Mexico is working with the Forest Stewards Guild, the Fire Adapted New Mexico learning network, Santa Fe, Cibola and Carson National Forests, New Mexico Forestry Division, New Mexico Coalition of Conservation Districts, National Park Service, and Bureau of Indian Affairs, to continue in 2022 a wildfire preparedness calendar 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. 

February graphic of person pruning a tree and calendar: Wildfire Preparedness is Year-Round; Prune Your Trees for Those Hotter Degrees.

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