Sunday, February 19, 2006

Message from the Urban/Wildland Interface

The City of Santa Fe Fire Department Wildland/Urban Interface Specialist sent us the following message:

"Our current wildland fire danger is very high, and with the winds howling outside, we all need to be extra vigilant! We had great moisture last year, which means we grew more grass, which is unusual for this area. Grass and chamisa are VERY easy to ignite, and the winds can “push” the fire across the landscape with incredible speed. Preventing wildfires is a job for ALL citizens.

"Here are a few tips:

  • Please encourage everyone you know who burns wood in their fireplaces to check to see if they have a spark arrester (screen) on the roof vent to prevent embers from flying around and landing on the grass. If not, talk to a professional fireplace person to ensure they install the correct screening.
  • Get out your weed whacker and cut any grass near your home.
  • Move firewood (and anything else flammable, including outdoor furniture cushions, wood furniture, etc.) away from your house. Put the firewood on the uphill side of your house (or inside the garage), away from the prevailing winds.
  • Don’t park your car in tall grass (the catalytic converter can get hot enough to start grass on fire)
  • If you smoke, please stay in a building or inside a car in wild, brushy or grassy areas. If you go camping, be extremely cautious with fire and stoves.
  • Be very careful with anything that creates sparks, including welding equipment, chainsaws, dirt bikes, barbecue grills, etc.

"Smokey Bear and I thank you for your extra care and vigilance. It will be a dangerous spring until we get more rain or snow."

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