Wildfires

Grant County residents enjoy the mountains and forests in our backyard. Significant portions of Grant County are publicly owned. The Federal Government including the United States Forest Service (USFS) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), as well as the New Mexico State Land Office, manages significant portions of public land. This public land, including the Gila National Forest and the Gila Wilderness, surrounds several of our mountain communities.

Residents in Grant County should be aware of the inherent wildfire risk in our mountain communities. The Ponderosa Pine and Piñon Juniper forests that surround our communities have evolved with wildfire and historically have experienced regular low-intensity wildfires. This low-intensity wildfire was beneficial and acted to clear leaf litter and underbrush while maintaining mature, open, park-like forests. Because of changing conditions, development, and past management practices, our forests are more crowded than they once were which can contribute to larger, higher-intensity wildfires that now threaten our forests and communities.

Residential development combined with changing conditions and wildfire risk has created a complex and potentially dangerous Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) that as a community we must deal with. While few would consider much of Grant County to be ‘urban’ by definition, the proximity of the forest to many home sites poses some unique risks.

While the risk of wildfires and other natural disasters cannot be eliminated, residents can take steps to reduce the risk. Land management agencies including those noted above have implemented numerous hazardous fuel reduction projects, to include prescribed fires, to reduce wildfire risk and improve forests. Unfortunately, the fuel reduction projects cannot eliminate all wildfire risks and the potential for wildfires in Grant County will always exist.

It is imperative that residents in Grant County be prepared for wildfires and take measures to ensure their safety before a wildfire begins. The Grant County Office of Emergency Management endorses the Ready, Set, Go! program and the easily remembered message it provides. The Ready, Set, Go! program also provides many useful and informative preparedness instructions and guidelines. Knowledge of the Ready, Set, Go! program, along with other useful wildfire preparedness information, will have a significant impact on preparing County residents for potential wildfires. The Grant County Office of Emergency Management is pleased to make the Ready, Set, Go! program available to County residents along with valuable wildfire preparedness information. Please follow the links provided at the top left of this page to access the information.