Each year, wildfires in New Mexico turn thousands of acres into smoldering ash and destroy property across the state. The human and financial costs of these natural disasters are high. However, by knowing some facts about wildfire prevention in New Mexico, you can help stop them. Here are five things you should know:

Wildfires Are Often Manmade

According to the US Forest Service, over half of all wildfires are caused by humans. These statistics are pretty crazy, but they make sense when you think about how many people live in areas at risk for wildfire. You might be surprised to learn that only a small percentage of wildfires are caused by natural causes like lightning and most are caused by problems like a cigarette butt that gets thrown out of a car window or sparks that come from campfires as well as other issues.

Wildfires Can Start in Communities

A wildfire can start anywhere in your community. Whether it’s from a campfire, burning yard waste, or even an electrical fire in your home, wildfires can take hold in places you least expect. Many people associate wildfires only with fires that happen in forests and in the wild, but many spark in neighborhoods or close to homes. The best defense against these fires is to make sure that everyone knows how to prevent them and keep their homes safe from the threat of wildfire.

Wildfires Can Spread Extremely Fast

Wildfires can spread very quickly, so it’s important to be aware of what is going on in your surroundings. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), a wildfire can spread up to 6 football fields in 30 seconds. That’s fast!

You Can Prevent Wildfires Around Your Home

It is important to keep up-to-date on your yard work, especially in the summer months when wildfires are most common. Establishing a fire break around your home and removing burnable materials like leaves, twigs, and debris will help prevent potential fires from starting or spreading. Also check for electrical issues around your home or business by cleaning out vents regularly, maintaining outlets, switches, and fixtures, and replacing any frayed wires or cords that may be hanging loose outside of the building.

Climate Change Can Cause More Wildfires

Wildfires can be devastating to the environment, human life, and communities. Climate change might not be the root of all evil, but it is certainly a contributing factor to many of the world’s problems. According to a recent study, climate change can also increase the number of wildfires. As climate change continues to affect the state’s weather patterns, it will also likely cause more severe wildfires.

Fire season can be devastating for both the environment and people’s homes. The best way to avoid a wildfire is prevention. Always make sure you are prepared for potential emergencies in your area. Capstone Fire is a great resource to learn about wildfire prevention in New Mexico.