Wildfire Resources for Homeowners
A YouTube video recently produced by Collin Haffey of New Mexico State Forestry (formerly of the Nature Conservancy) titled Good Fire and Active Forest Management Protects Watersheds and Communities: the 2020 Medio Fire gives an excellent overview of the importance of thinning and prescribed burns to maintaining forest health and mitigating the danger of devastating burns.
The saying goes, "It's not whether wildfire will happen, it's when it will happen." As the video shows, attitudes about fighting wildfires have changed over the years with the recognition that radical suppression of wildfires creates a worse problem for the environment than allowing more frequent, low intensity wildfires to occur. As the climate in the Southwest changes, we are seeing higher temperatures and less moisture, resulting in frequent wildfires. Past suppression has created overgrown forests, leading to rapidly-spreading devastating wildfires such as the 2011 Las Conchas wildfire that burned more than 156,000 acres and destroyed 63 residences and 49 outbuildings. More recent wildfires include the 2013 Thompson Ridge Fire, the 2017 El Cajete Fire, and numerous other smaller fires.
Residents in the Jemez Mountains need to be aware of the potential for wildfire, take steps to mitigate it on their property, and be prepared for evacuation or sheltering in place in an emergency. The information in these web pages is intended to help homeowners reduce the damage that wildfire can cause to their property, but, despite precautions, emergencies can happen that require homeowners to shelter in place and evacuate. The material in this section was assembled by Maureen Lincoln, a Thompson Ridge Estates resident, who has generously allowed us to include it in these web pages. It includes forms to complete before an emergency happens, advice on how to prepare your home during fire season (in addition to preparing defensible space), and advice on how to handle emergency situations. Wildfires are always stressful, but pre-planning can help reduce that stress and enable you to respond in an efficient manner. Remember, the home you save may be your own.
CodeRED Information : Homeowners should sign up for CodeRED with Sandoval County so that they can be notified in case of evacuations. Information can be provided via landlines, cell phones, email, or text. This is not 100% reliable, but is a useful source to give you warning in case of fire.
Residential Preplanning: This document contains a form that can be submitted to La Cueva Volunteer Fire Department to help in case of a fire at your home. It requests information such as location of propane tanks and shutoff, emergency contact numbers, and type of occupancy (full-time, part-time).
What to Do in Case of Wildfire: if there is a wildfire, you should have a plan. This document will help if you have to leave your home in an emergency.
Shelter In Place: If you are unable to evacuate safely, then you may be forced to shelter in place. This document gives guidance on how to handle this situation.
Preparing Your Home and Property for Wildfire: You can improve the likelihood that your home and property will survive a wildfire. This power point of a 2023 presentation in Jemez Springs by Gabe Kohler of the Forest Stewards Guild tells you how.