Get Ready for Wildfire
The fire season is now a year-round reality in many areas, requiring firefighters and residents to be on heightened alert for the threat of wildland fire throughout the year. Each year, wildland fires consume hundreds of homes in the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI). Studies show that as many as 80 percent of the homes lost to wildland fires could have been saved if their owners had only followed a few simple firesafe practices. In addition, wildland-fire related deaths occur because people wait too long to leave their homes.
Your fire department takes every precaution to help protect you and your property from wildland fire. However, the reality is that in a major wildland fire, there will simply not be enough fire engines or firefighters to defend every home. Successfully preparing for a wildland fire requires you to take personal responsibility for protecting yourself, your family and your property. Use the resources on this page to help you prepare.
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Ready, Set, Go: Your Personal Wildfire Action Plan - from Santa Fe County
En español: En Sus Marcas, Listos, Fuera! - from the City of Santa Fe
Surviving a Wildfire in Santa Fe - from the City of Santa Fe
En español: Guía de juventud - from the City of Santa Fe
By following the information on this page you can reduce the risk of your home igniting.
How do homes ignite?
Ember showers tend to be the greatest threat to homes from wildfire. Embers can ignite exterior and interior home components from miles away, as well as vegetation and flammable items near the home. Direct flame contact with the house occurs when flammable items touching the house catch on fire, or when embers start a fire on the structure and create direct contact. Radiant heat exposure occurs from heat radiating off a nearby structure or burning tree and can ignite objects inside the home. By thinking of how homes ignite you can take action to remove the threats that wildfires pose.
Use the Home Hazard Assessment Guide to analyze your risks and develop a plan for action.
Use the guides from National Fire Protection Association:
These one page guides give an overview of what to do to prepare your home for wildfire From NFPA.
How to Prepare Your Home For Wildfires
Ten easy tasks to get you started on reducing your wildfire risk from NFPA:
Ember ignition of homes
Video Guides developed by NFPA
NFPA provides action steps for residents to reduce wildfire risks, including seven tips to help keep homes from igniting in a wildfire.
Dr. Jack Cohen, Fire Science Researcher with the USDA Forest Service, explains current research about how homes ignite during wildfires, and the actions that homeowners can take to help their home survive the impacts of flames and embers.
Landscape with fire resistant plants, prepared by New Mexico State University and New Mexico State Forestry
Living with Fire- a Homeowners Guide, a 20 page guide about living with fire from a home preparation scale to community wide planning prepared by New Mexico State Forestry.
Wildfire Resistant Building Fact Sheets
This series features the wildfire research being done at the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety research facility to create more resilient communities. These guides offer in depth information about each topic and what can be done to make your home more fire resistant.
Roofing materials (PDF)
Under-Eave Construction (PDF)
Wildfire Retrofit Guides, also from the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety, focuses mainly on structural improvements you can make to protect your home from wildfire. It includes the information from the factsheets above and more.