With Red Flag conditions forecast this week, and active fires in the state, fire season is ramping into high gear.

The Cibola National Forest has moved to High Fire Danger Rating on all ranger districts.

The Fire Danger Rating is calculated by measuring the dryness of wood, grass and other combustible material, weather conditions and the terrain. The combination of these factors results in one of five fire danger levels: low, moderate, high, very high and extreme.

Fire managers consider several factors when elevating the fire danger level. Data from Remote Weather Stations (RAWS) located across the forest and grasslands are aggregated together, producing the Energy Release Component (ERC).

As live fuels cure and dead fuels dry, the ERC will increase and can be described as a build-up index. Each daily calculation considers the past 7 days in calculating the new number.

Fire managers and planners have found that the ERC can be used as a decision tool to prepare for an approaching fire season. This data is evaluated in addition to the number of human-caused fires, red flag and critical fire days.

Before each visit to the National Forest, check for fire restrictions online.

The Southwest Area is currently at Preparedness Level 3. Preparedness Levels run on a scale from 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest, and are dictated by fuel and weather conditions, fire activity, and resource availability. More information on interagency fire incidents and resources go to the Southwest Coordination Center website.

All Cibola fire information will be posted on the Cibola NF & NGs website, New Mexico Fire Information website, and the Cibola NF & NGs Facebook & Twitter pages.

For further information contact the Cibola NF & NGs district offices:

  • Mountainair Ranger District Office: 505-847-2990
  • Mt. Taylor Ranger District Office: 505-287-8833
  • Sandia Ranger District Office: 505-281-3304
  • Supervisor’s Office: 505-346-3900

Wildfire Preparedness Series

On April 30, EMIFPA, the East Mountain Interagency Fire Protection Association, will host another of its Wildfire Preparedness Series called “Making Your Evacuation Bag—Are You Ready?” at the Village of Tijeras Council Chambers from 10 a.m. to noon.

The program will cover making an evacuation bag of urgently needed items in the event of an emergency.

The program will also include discussion about emergency preparedness, family communication, making evacuation bags for family, people with disabilities, people reliant on medical support, latch key kids, evacuation plans for livestock and animals, and car supplies. People interested in attending can bring evacuation bags and talk to emergency responders to get feedback. Space is limited; please RSVP to bhelmich@flash.net or kt.crisis.communication@aol.com.

Red Flags ahead and how to prepare to evacuate