Fire weather coordinators gearing up for season

Posted at: 02/21/2014 12:45 PM
Updated at: 02/21/2014 5:26 PM
By: Jorge Torres, KOB Eyewitness News 4

The fire season is well underway in New Mexico. With the ongoing drought and wind picking up statewide, everyone is on the fire watch and hoping that what happened in 2011 doesn't repeat itself this year.

The Southwest Coordination Center is the logistical and support center for wild-land firefighting in the Southwest. One of the meteorologist on staff, Chuck Maxwell, says the recent fires are not surprising due to windy conditions and people tending to burn their trash.

"I'm not sure that's what caused the recent activity, but it's not atypical for fire activity to start this time of year," Maxwell said.

The key is preparation, which started at the SWCC at the end of last year's fire season.

"We're talking about what's going to happen next year, preparing, along with lessons learned from the past fire season. Right now things are in full swing and we're already ramping up to prepare for this season in terms of getting the resources available and that stuff straightened out," Maxwell said.

The peak time for fire danger in New Mexico is in June, when hot temperatures and lightning become key factors for wildfires.