ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – The threat of wildfires is high in New Mexico and it is months ahead of schedule.
In fact, 80 percent of New Mexico is in at least a moderate drought.
The fire risk is currently labeled “high” in the Bosque. The amount of dry brush out there is exactly what fuels the fires.
The 2013 monsoon season and early snowfall gave the state much needed precipitation, which allowed more brush to grow. But it has been over a month since the metro area has seen snow or rain, and the extra “fuel” is building up and endangering places, like in the Bosque.
Snowpack levels in the mountains are lower than they were last year at this time.
So with no moisture in sight, and high winds a certainty in the spring, fire experts say you don’t have to avoid the outdoors entirely, just be aware conditions are ripe for fires, and use caution.
“The amount of moisture in the grass is very low. When you add a spark, a match or a cigarette, sparks from a chain dragging on the highway, the potential is extreme,” said Dan Ware, spokesperson for New Mexico State Forestry.
Last year, fire experts say we didn’t see really big fires until May, when winds are typically very high.