From the FEMA NPM Team:
Wildfires can spread rapidly, with little-to-no warning, often going unnoticed until it is too late. These wildfires, commonly started by human error, quickly ignite and burn through tinder-dry bushes and trees, and unfortunately spread to nearby homes as well.
If you live in a fire-prone area there are various ways that you can help reduce the chance for severe damage to your home and property, by designing and landscaping your home with wildfire safety in mind; selecting materials and plants that can help contain a fire rather than fuel it.
For home design and construction:
- Use fire-resistant or noncombustible materials on the roof and exterior structure of the dwelling.
- Treat wood or combustible material used in roofs, siding, decking, or trim with fire-retardant chemicals evaluated by a nationally recognized laboratory.
- Plant fire-resistant shrubs and trees around your property such as hardwoods, and avoid more flammable pine, evergreen, eucalyptus or fir trees.
For home maintenance and safety:
- Regularly clean your roof and gutters to remove any debris;
- Install a fire alarm on every floor in your home and test monthly;
- Have a garden hose long enough to reach your home and any other structures on the property;
- Ask the power company to remove any branches that are near or on the power lines; and
- Mow your grass regularly.
A great resource for proper home and property fire prevention planning is www.firewise.org. The site contains a variety of fire safety and prevention information designed for residents, property owners, fire departments, community planners, builders, public policy officials, water authorities and architects. To learn about Firewise’s upcoming Wildfire Education conference click here.
Should you be directed to evacuate your home due to a wildfire, follow the instructions of local officials, and be sure to take your battery operated radio, disaster preparedness kit and lock the door behind you when evacuating. If you have time to prepare the home before leaving, visit the U.S. Fire Administration website for additional tips.
“…the U.S. Bureau of Land Management is working on a kinder and gentler approach. Though some people are calling it “Whopper Junior,” the BLM pointedly is not. In a preliminary planning document released this month, the BLM’s state director, Jerome E. Perez, said the new approach will be based on what the public wants, science, the law and on the goals of healthy forests, not board feet of timber.”
- You may not realize just how bad this drought is… Santa Fe now joins the list of towns in New Mexico that are running out of water. Local reservoirs are only at 33% capacity and after McNichols and McClure are tapped out, they’ll have to go to underground aquifers. Pray for rain, guys, and pray hard.
- Extreme drought is also in its third year in Magdalena, where the water is trickling back but only trickling enough to re-open town for now.
- In other liquid news, there’s a fight brewing over an arrest made in Tucumcari for an open container of near beer in a vehicle. 5-year legal fight over O’Doul’s beer
- Have you noticed a lot of people here that have Michigan ties? I wonder if the load officers at CUANM do. The New Mexico Credit Union Assn. of New Mexico teamed up with a Troy, MI firm to release a mobile arcade game called Kirby’s Catch and Save, that features a kangaroo that catches coins in its pocket.
- The Legal Tender in Lamy is re-opened this week. You can see a video from opening night here. To start out, they will only be open for dinner, Thursday through Saturday. Happy hour goes from 3-5pm and dinner goes from 6-9pm. Here’s the info:
HOURS & RESERVATIONS
Thursday, Friday, Saturday
3:00 PM to 9:00 PM Happy Hour Served: 3:00 P – 5:00 P
Dinner Served: 5:00 P to 8:00 P
Reservations Requested Call: 505.466.1650
- According to the US Department of Energy, “Los Alamos National Laboratory (Los Alamos) is at some risk of seismic events and susceptible to forest fires, including those started by lightning. Since 2000, there have been two major forest fires that threatened Los Alamos.Although Los Alamos had made progress in upgrading existing nuclear facilities, concerns remained regarding the mitigation of risks related to natural disasters. Specifically, we found seismic issues affecting the Plutonium Facility that remain to be addressed. Additionally, we found that fire protection and prevention vulnerabilities in Area G Waste Storage and Disposal Facility (Area G) continue to exist. Further, we found that several known risks exist with compensatory measures implemented in Area G that may lessen their efficacy in mitigating natural disasters. Los Alamos’ processes and procedures have not always been fully effective in ensuring that hazards, including natural disasters, are fully analyzed and effectively mitigated. ”
If it weren’t the Energy Department, one would find this piece of news to be alarmist, not just alarming. But it is from the government agency and more than a bit frightening.
- The Hepatitis A outbreak, blamed on Townsend Farms Organic Anti-oxidant Blend, has now affected 122 people, including 5 here in New Mexico.
Its summertime! Kids are out of school, parents and adults are taking advantage of the warm weather and planning vacations locally and outside of their area. Some people live in areas where there is minimal risk of weather causing a major effect on the planning and excitement of the vacation, so when they move to other parts of the country or outside of the U.S., preparedness needs to be considered.
Vacationers must be aware of their surroundings and ensure proper precautions are made in emergency planning for their vacation. Below are helpful tips shared on the National Preparedness Coalition discussion board when preparing for vacation.
- Have copies of your travel documents and passports available with you. Make electronic copies for back-up purposes.
- Check weather for your vacation destination.
- Consider purchasing travel insurance when traveling to areas with known risks such as the Caribbean during hurricane season. Make sure natural disasters are covered in the travel insurance.
- Pack an emergency kit that includes first aid supplies and any prescriptions.
- Heed the warning. Follow the lead of the residents when warning siren or advisories are made.
Illinois Emergency Management Agency has declared June, Vacation Preparedness month, to read more on the initiative and their tips click here.
- I’ve heard this weather referred to as a new dustbowl many times. I don’t think it’s quite that yet but it surely is a drought and something about which we should be concerned. Cross-posted from today’s New Mexico news. 8 Images to Understand the Drought in the Southwest
- As if a fire weren’t scary enough on its own… At Chernobyl, Radioactive Danger Lurks in the Trees: For 26 years, forests around Chernobyl have been absorbing radioactive elements but a fire would send them skyward again – a concern as summers grow longer, hotter and drier
- And elsewhere on the international front, Wildfire training for African locals
- According to Mammoth Times, Eastern Sierra and other areas of California are really in for it this year (as if it’s been a cakewalk so far)… Fire season could be ‘worst in 100 years’
ESRI has a current wildfire activity map up. It says that it’s US but it also shows some activity in Canada and in Central America. I believe it is a worldwide tool.
- Staci Matlock has a good piece in today’s New Mexican about the Jaroso fire and how the IMT is managing it. It was good to see the inclusion of Luke Sheehy’s passing at the beginning of the piece.
- In Colorado, a Fireworks Company Says They Can Still Shoot Off Displays Safely
- ““I hate to go there, but I think that a lot of times, these decisions are made and they aren’t thought out, it’s just ‘Hey, we’ve got fire, we’ve got smoke and this is a good story,’ ” Diaz said.”
- Yeah, given the fire situation in Colorado, probably you don’t want to go there….
- New Mexico now ranks 50th in child well-being, nationwide. Given that, I feel a need to clarify that there are 50 states and New Mexico is last. New Mexico Drops to 50 in Nation for Child Well-being
- Reminder – the Santa Fe National Forest is closed, as of today, due to wildfire danger. KOB has a good list of what’s open and what’s closed across New Mexico. Be aware and be safe!
- Waking Times has an interesting article about the resurgence of Native foods, with a good portion of it focused on New Mexico pueblos’ efforts. Included is a reference to Declaration of Seed Sovereignty, which came out of Tesuque Pueblo’s Sustainable Food and Seed Sovereignty Symposium. Reference: Putting the Culture Back in Agriculture: Reviving Native Food and Farming Traditions
- Check out the KASA video from New Mexico Magazine. You might want to pop out to the newsstand and pick up the July issue. Sounds yummy!
Patriotic Pig Roast
- The Legal Tender in Lamy is re-opening this week. To start out, they will only be open for dinner, Thursday through Saturday. Happy hour goes from 3-5pm and dinner goes from 6-9pm. Here’s the info:
HOURS & RESERVATIONS
Thursday, Friday, Saturday
3:00 PM to 9:00 PMHappy Hour Served: 3:00 P – 5:00 P
Dinner Served: 5:00 P to 8:00 P
Reservations RequestedCall: 505.466.1650
- I’ve heard this weather referred to as a new dustbowl many times. I don’t think it’s quite that yet but it surely is a drought and something about which we should be concerned. So, I will probably cross-post these sorts of things here and in the Wildfire entries, as necessary. 8 Images to Understand the Drought in the Southwest
- Check out historical photos of places around New Mexico – or even upload some of your own – at WhatWasThere.com. This idea came from Ann Arbor, MI and you can look virtually travel to places around the globe. Lots of fun.
- ESRI has developed an online GIS tool for those responding and those affected by the current Colorado fires to monitor the situation on the ground.
- The US is not the only place experiencing wildfires. Sumatra’s fires are producing haze, extending into Malaysia and Singapore. When haze attacks three countries, cooperation needed
- Today’s policy editorial from the Durango Herald: Forests, fires and budgets – Tight times mean no easy answer preventing, fighting forest fires
- I’ve made a number of friends in the US Forest Service but not one of them has introduced me to a Smurf. We’ll have to work on that… The Smurfs™ Encourage Children to Get Outside and Discover the Forest
- The Colorado Rural Electric Association has established a Black Forest Fire Electric Co-op Relief Fund to help the more than 500 members of Mountain View Electric Association, who have lost their homes and businesses during the last two weeks. Co-ops Battle Persistent Wildfires
- Every community in the West should be this forward: No warnings: Boulder police to ticket, arrest anyone with fireworks this summer
- Bill Gabbert is pretty upset in his piece in Wildfire Today, InciWeb is failing. While I agree it’s a shame how slow it gets when fire season really kicks into gear, I would have liked to see a little credit given for the social media strides they’re making this year. Doce Fire had its Facebook page set up on the 18th and it already has more than 6,000 followers. They are posting prolifically and are answering comments. It’s a move in the right direction, while we wait for a better Inciweb implementation.
Several myths about the nature of tornadoes have long existed and serve as a hindrance to preparedness. Help dispel these commons myths in your community and share via Facebook.
Myth: Areas near rivers, lakes and mountains are safe from tornadoes.
Fact: No terrain is safe from tornadoes. For example, a tornado swept through Yellowstone National Park leaving a path of destruction up and down a 10,000 ft. mountain.
Myth: The low pressure with a tornado causes buildings to “explode” as the tornado passes overhead.
Fact: Violent winds and debris slamming into buildings cause most structural damage.
Myth: Windows should be opened before a tornado approaches to equalize pressure and minimize damage.
Fact: Opening windows allows damaging winds to enter a structure. Leave windows alone; instead, immediately go to a basement, interior room or bathroom without windows.
For more information, visit http://www.ready.gov/tornadoes or read NOAA’s Tornado Guide.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) partnered to designate March 3-9, 2013, as National Severe Weather Preparedness Week, and is calling upon all Americans to Be a Force of Nature.
The Red Elm is committed to Being a Force of Nature and pledges to do so by: knowing our risk, taking action, and being an example for our families and community by sharing the steps we took. Severe weather can strike anywhere and at any time.
Just last year, there were more than 450 weather-related fatalities and nearly 2,600 injuries. Each time severe weather threatens we hear stories of ordinary Americans who do the extraordinary to save loved ones – a mother protecting her children by shielding them from flying debris, a homeowner opening up his storm shelter to neighbors, neighbors helping a senior in a wheelchair get to a safe shelter, individuals ensuring friends are aware of the current watch or warning in their area.
Tornadoes struck approximately 46 states, caused over $1.6 billion in damage and nearly 70 fatalities. There were more than 935 tornadoes in 2012, with 206 in April alone. While April and May are peak months, tornadoes happen all year round.
Building a Weather-Ready Nation requires that every individual and community take action because severe weather knows no boundaries and affects us all. Be a Force of Nature by making a public pledge to be prepared at ready.gov/severe-weather.
What can you do to Prepare?
Knowing your risk, taking action and being an example by sharing your knowledge and actions through your social network are just a few steps you can take to be better prepared and assist in saving lives.
- Know Your Risk: The first step to becoming weather-ready is to understand the type of hazardous weather that can affect where you live and work, and how the weather could impact you and your family. Every state in the United States has experienced tornadoes and severe weather, so everyone is exposed to some degree of risk.
- Check the weather forecast regularly and visit ready.gov/severe-weather to learn more about how to be better prepared and how you can protect your family during emergencies.
- Pledge and Take Action: Be Force of Nature by taking the Pledge to Prepare at ready.gov/severe-weather. When you pledge to prepare, you will take the first step to making sure that you and your family are prepared for severe weather. This includes filling out your family communications plan that you can email to yourself, putting an emergency kit together, keeping important papers and valuables in a safe place, and getting involved.
- Obtain a NOAA Weather Radio, and check to see if your cell phone is equipped to receive Wireless Emergency Alerts and sign up for localized alerts from emergency management officials.
- Stay informed by having multiple sources for weather alerts – NOAA Weather Radio, Weather.gov, and Wireless Emergency Alerts. Subscribe to receive alerts at www.weather.gov/subscribe.
- Be an Example: Once you have taken action and pledged to Be a Force of Nature, share your story with your family and friends. Create a video and post on a video sharing site; post your story on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, comment on a blog, or share through any other social media site. Technology today makes it easier than ever to be a good example and share the steps you took to help us achieve the vision of a Weather-Ready Nation.
Join us today and pledge to prepare for the severe weather in our area.
Information on the different types of severe weather such as tornadoes, severe thunderstorms and flooding is available at www.weather.gov and ready.gov/severe-weather or the Spanish-language web site www.listo.gov.