How to protect homes in areas near Santa Fe that could be affected by wildfire, and what to expect from mitigation activities in the newly designated Greater Santa Fe Fireshed, will be the focus of a "Fire Fair" open house from 5:30 to 7:30 pm on Thursday, May 12, at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center.
The city's fireshed includes 120,000 acres of the mountains bracketing the eastern edge of the city and the watershed. This year, local governing bodies adopted a resolution committing to protecting infrastructure, recreational resources and the watershed, which provides nearly half of the city's drinking water, from wildfire and bringing together a coalition of stakeholders to address those concerns. The Fire Fair introduces the coalition's work.
"Our big goal is just to educate people that there's a risk out there and we'd like to address it, and we want to address it in a well-thought-out manner," says Porfirio Chavarria, wildland-urban interface specialist with the Santa Fe Fire Department. "We don't want to just go up there and start hacking out trees when maybe that's not necessarily the appropriate action to take."
The wildland-urban interface in the Santa Fe area, the wildfire-prone zone where development abuts forest, runs from Nambé to Glorieta. One-way streets, narrow driveways, inadequate water supplies and a lack of community awareness can all exacerbate fires.
"That's a big issue when people live in a fire-prone area but don't understand that they live in a fire-prone area and don't understand the responsibilities that that takes," Chavarria says.
Actions that homeowners take within 30 feet of their property give the best chance of a house surviving a wildfire.