San Juan County seeing rise in brush fires

Posted at: 03/18/2013 7:02 PM
By: Ashley McElroy, KOB Eyewitness News 4

When the winds come up, we go on fire watch in New Mexico.

Officials in San Juan County are already seeing a higher number of small brush fires.

Some have been started by people clearing and burning their own brush.

Before Douglas Bradford started cleaning up his property between Farmington and Bloomfield, this piece of land was a giant fire waiting to happen.

"Had seven junkie old mobile homes on it, which is one of the biggest fire hazards you can have," said Bradford.

Bradford and others in the area are doing some spring cleaning.

This is the time of year people start cleaning up their property and burning debris on their land and even though they try to keep it under control for some, it can get a little out of hand.

High winds and no moisture make it easy for a controlled burn to quickly become a brush fire.

"Unless we get some good monsoon moisture come in I think it's going to be a real bad fire season for everybody," said Captain Chris Shay of the San Juan County Fire Department.

But fire officials say people are becoming more cautious when they burn.

And the number one precaution you can take is to call your local fire department and make sure they say weather conditions are ok for burning.

"They want you to be prepared in case it gets out of hand, as long as you do that there's no problem," said Bradford.

Having no problems leads to a safer fire season.

If you're burning, have water on hand and don't burn within 50 feet of a structure.