Fire danger still high

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By Tris DeRoma

Just because there seems to be a little nip in the air doesn’t mean the fire season is over.

According to the Los Alamos Fire Department, now more than ever, residents must be vigilant of fire hazard conditions.
Even though Los Alamos had a fairly soggy spring, average rainfall has declined by eight inches according to fire officials — and that’s not good.

“We had some very good monsoons come through in the spring, which promoted the growth of the grass, the trees and the shrubs,” Deputy Chief Justin Grider said.

“But since then, we haven’t had any steady moisture come through, so now we have dead and dying grass … all someone has to do is flick a cigarette and a fire could potentially take off.”

It may get relatively cool at night, but temperatures are still hitting the mid 60s during the day and that has Grider and the rest of the fire department fairly worried.

But, Grider added, there are steps residents can do to minimize the risk, by perhaps getting ready for spring right now.
That would include cutting the dry grass and the branches of trees back in preparation for next spring.

“It would be a great time to cut down those grasses as well to make a defensible barrier around your home,” Grider said.

Cutting the branches that overhang your roof, pruning back bushes that are a bit too bushy and cutting away the dead grass are just some of the things you could do to protect yourself, Grider said.

“I know it sounds kind of cliché, but the last line of defense is your home, and the home you save could one day be your own,” he said.

“And don’t leave your debris in your backyard or piled against your home. Don’t let a fire that can start on the ground get to your roof.”

According to an LAFD press release, it’s no accident that people are smelling the prescribed burns happening in the area, as well as hearing and seeing signs of other fire mitigation projects happening around Los Alamos and throughout the county.

“The smoke in the air, mowers on roadways, the sound of chainsaws are important reminders for residents to take the time to complete that last step, especially when creating defensible space around homes and property,” the statement read.