Sandia Knolls




Local Services
Water Issues
Links Page
SKNA Officers
Contact Information

Welcome to the Website for the Sandia Knolls Neighborhood Association. This site  contains vital information on the issues we need to know about as property owners here in the Knolls.





Be on Our E-Mail list, Send your Address to, I am getting a lot of retuned e-mails...Please update your address by sending me an e-mail so I can copy your new address it into our list.. Thanks!

Mark Emery



Get timely announcements regarding Fire Information, Water Issues, Septic Tank Regulations etc..







Deep Well Protest


Please keep abreast of the latest news and support this cause.





General County Updates


Geocaching with BernCo Bernie!


BernCo Bernie’s geocaching adventure is still under way!  Get the clues to the

hidden caches at


Travel the four corners of Bernalillo County to find all eight secret caches and

then solve the mystery riddle.  Complete the hunt to claim a limited-edition

commemorative BernCo coin.  It’s a real-world treasure hunt that’s fun for all ages.



North Valley Library Update


The North Valley Public Library at 7704 2nd Street NW suffered severe

damages as a result of a fire in early July.  Since the fire, the contents of the

building have been removed for cleaning.  Once the cleaning phase is

completed, phase two will begin and will include the replacement of the

lighting, ceilings, insulation, ductwork, painting, carpeting, some windows and

other work as needed.  


Go to: for weekly updates and

photos on the restorative progress of the library.



Commissioners Move Forward on Fair and Equal Pay for Women


County Commissioners Debbie O’Malley and Maggie Hart Stebbins have

announced Bernalillo County will require vendors doing business with

the county to disclose pay equity information, or pay gaps between what men

and women are paid for doing the same work.


In 2010, women who worked full time earned 81 percent of men’s median

weekly earnings, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The county will

provide worksheet templates to assist contractors in producing pay equity

disclosure reports necessary for reporting percentage differences between pay

for women and men working in the same job categories.  Individual names and

pay amounts will not be collected. The forms and procedures are currently

being developed by county staff and will take effect later this year.


Bernalillo County, like all New Mexico counties, is governed by state

procurement law, as enacted by the state Legislature.  Gender pay equity is not

currently addressed specifically in state law, but Commissioners O’Malley and

Hart Stebbins seek to change that by asking lawmakers to adopt gender pay

equity as a requirement in the state procurement code.


The measure was passed unanimously by the County Commission via a

resolution in September, 2013.


For more information, vendors can call the Purchasing Department

at (505) 468-7013.





BCFD & AFD Begin Full Implementation of

Closest Station Response Agreement


The Bernalillo County Fire Department (BCFD)

and the Albuquerque Fire Department (AFD) in

October began full implementation of an automatic

aid agreement within the metro area that allows the

closest fire station to respond to fires or medical

calls, regardless of jurisdiction.


In an emergency, a delay can mean the difference

between life and death. This new agreement will

ensure that when residents and visitors call 9-1-1,

they will have the fastest response possible from

firefighters in the closest station. City and county

emergency response will no longer be delayed by

jurisdictional boundaries.


Over the past two years, BCFD and AFD have

implemented several agreements that have

formalized the relationship between the two fire

departments, resulting in a higher functioning

emergency response system. This combined effort

will result in more effective emergency operations,

more efficient use of resources, and a safer working

environment for both city and county firefighters.



County Commissioners Pledge Support

for 150 New Jobs


The Bernalillo County Commission has pledged

its verbal support for a new customer service

and technical support center to be operated by

Canon Information Technology Services, Inc.


The company recently announced its plans to bring

150 jobs to Albuquerque at a news conference with

state and local officials in attendance including

Gov. Susana Martinez, Commission Chair Maggie

Hart Stebbins and Albuquerque Mayor Richard J.



The cooperation between state and local elected

officials and economic development staff was listed

as a factor in the company’s decision to choose

Albuquerque over other competing cities.


The project incentives include $600,000 in Local

Economic Development Act funds to help the

company renovate an existing office building on

Jefferson Plaza N.E. The city, county and state have

pledged $200,000 each, pending County

Commission and City Council approval.


Commissioners Hart Stebbins and O’Malley hope to

schedule a vote on the county’s $200,000 incentive

before the end of the year.



Animal Care Director Matt Pepper Appointed to

National Animal Control Association Board of Directors


Since September 2011, Director Matt Pepper has brought many positive changes to

the day-to-day operations of Bernalillo County Animal Care Services. Pepper

was recently appointed to the Board of Directors for the National Animal Control

Association by NACA President Todd Stosuy of Santa Cruz, Calif. The mission of

the National Animal Control Association is to define and promote professionalism in

the animal protection care and humane law enforcement fields by providing quality

services, education, training, and support. Pepper previously served on the Board of

Directors for NACA from 2009-2011.



Thanksgiving Turkey Tips


If you’re thinking about deep frying your Thanksgiving turkey this year, watch a safety tip video on the subject by going to, click on the BernCo Videos tab, scroll down on the left side and click on Public Safety Matters, and

then “Deep Frying Safety for the Holidays”.






Answers To Your Zoning, Building and Planning Questions from Bernalillo County Public Works          


Send your zoning questions to Tom Kay at (314-0396), building-related questions to

Brad Jackson at (314-0380), and your planning questions to Enrico Gradi at (314-0385).


Q: What happens if I get a zoning violation?


A: A notice of violation will be sent to the property owner to give you time to correct it.  If the steps

toward compliance are not seen after repeated attempts to contact the owner, zoning refers the matter to the

courts.  Zoning will work with the property owner by adjusting the time frame allotted to correct the

violation as long as earnest attempts to correct the violation are made.  If you get a zoning violation, please

contact the inspector listed on the violation as soon as possible.




BernCo Public Works Update


Bernalillo County Receives Transportation Planning Award


The New Mexico chapter of the American Planning Association has awarded Bernalillo County’s Pedestrian

and Bicyclist Safety Action Plan its 2013 Transportation Planning Award. The Pedestrian and Bicyclist Safety

Action Plan is a study that identifies pedestrian and bicycling issues in the unincorporated areas of Bernalillo

County and recommends and prioritizes projects to address them.


This award recognizes planners and planning projects throughout the state of New Mexico for outstanding

achievement in the use of planning principles to solve transportation problems and to improve the quality of

life in their community. Pedestrian and bicyclist facilities are an essential part of Bernalillo County’s

transportation system, and the county strives to integrate them into the planning, design and ultimate

construction of every project.  


The primary goal of the action plan is to ensure safety for all travelers along county roadways, to promote

healthy lifestyles and recreational opportunities for all ages, and to improve air quality by reducing energy use.

The American Planning Association was created in 1978 and is an independent, not-for-profit educational

organization based in Washington, D.C.  


To view the award-winning action plan, please visit



America Recycles Day is Nov. 15


Give your trash/garbage another life! By putting your recyclables in the recycling bin, you give them new life.

Some materials can travel through the recycling and manufacturing process to be back on the store shelf in as

little as 30 days! Visit to see how recyclables are made into new




Paseo del Norte and I-25 Interchange Project


Project construction began Oct. 15. Sign up to receive automatic email/text traffic updates at http:// Support the local businesses during construction – visit to see listings of area businesses.



That’s BernCo at a Glance for November.  We’ll see you again in December.









Bears And The Drought



I understand there is movement in the community to support supplemental feeding of bears in the Sandia Mountains.  The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish has the authority over this Game Animal.  However, the Sandia Ranger District position is we do not support supplemental feeding of these animals on National Forest System lands.  Providing food, even once, could create a problem bear and eventually a dead bear if not done very carefully to not create a link with bears associating food with humans. Feeding would establish a false carrying capacity and if current climate conditions continue, we would just be creating a future problem down the road. Any food caches would need to be spread far and wide or the dominant bear gets the food and the little guys get little if any food and in fact may be killed by the dominant bears. Any food sources would be prohibited in the Sandia Mountain Wilderness under wilderness regulations and any food outside of the wilderness could cause conflicts with the heavy recreation use of our trails and picnic areas.  Yes, it is difficult to see them suffering, however, nature is very tough and populations ebb and flow depending upon available resources.  There is enough forage out there for some animals to survive and breed into the future. 


I would like to remind everyone that there is a “Food Storage Order” for the Sandia and Mountainair Ranger Districts that prohibits anyone from being more than 100 feet from any food they take into the mountains.  I have attached a pdf version of the order.  Here is a link to our website that shows the order.


If you put out supplemental food for bears on the Sandia or Mountainair Ranger Districts you are subject to citation via this food storage order.  It is also a reminder that when we open back up (hopefully soon!) that you cannot leave your food unattended while out hiking, bike riding, picnicking, etc. 


Cid H. Morgan, District Ranger

Sandia Ranger District, Cibola National Forest and Grasslands

11776 Highway 337

Tijeras,  NM 87059

505-281-3304 Phone

505-281-1176 FAX






Lois Trim piecing things together.




Lois Trim, explaining the process to me, as you can see it is a lot of hard work piecing the tiles together then grouting and cleaning. From design to the firing of the tiles to the final install took about 4 months... We also had some weather issues thrown in, but what a great outcome we have!


To contact Lois;       Accents of Trim; ;     505-281-9205;





Mark A. DiMenna, Ph.D., Deputy Director of the Environmental Health Department spoke last night (2/20/13) about Bubonic Plague and Tularemia.
Bubonic Plague aka Yersenia Pestis:  It's not just a disease from the Middle Ages
Bubonic Plague originated in Asia, and there are been three pandemics including the Black Death in the Middle Ages in Europe.  Plague first came to the US in 1900 through the port of San Francisco via rats on the trade ships from Europe.  New Mexico has had most of the cases--53% of all cases in the US.
Since 1970 the main counties affected have been Bernalillo, Santa Fe, Sandoval, Rio Arriba, and McKinley.  1949 was the first case in New Mexico.  1959 was the first case in the East Mountains.  Between 1949-2012 there have been 265 cases in New Mexico.  Since 2005 there have been two deaths.
Plague is most prevalent in the warm months, May - September.  Of those who have contracted it, 14% have died.
Symptoms begin within 2-7 days for flea bites; for pulmonary exposure (airborne) it's less:  1-4 days.  Symptoms include high fever, chills, headache, malaise, weakness, painful swollen lymph nodes.
The medical community is somewhat aware of the problem.  Misdiagnoses have occurred.  If you become ill, tell your MD where you live and that you want plague considered as a diagnosis.
Pneumonic (lung) plague is extremely contagious. Septicemic (blood) and pneumonic plague are 100% fatal w/o treatment.  50-60% fatal if treated.(Bubonic plague can advance to develop in lungs and blood. Or, there can be airborne transmission.)
Pinon-junipers are great habitat for rodents.  Elevation and altitude are part of the risk.  Area of risk extends from Western NM to Eastern Bernalillo County.
Deer mice probably maintain plague & hanta in the wild.  Rock squirrels and Prairie Dogs have a known problem with fleas.   So do those Pack Rats who like to gnaw on your spark plug wires.  Cottontail rabbits are another player in plague and tularemia. 
Flea control for pets is important year-around. Early diagnosis of plague is critical.  Cats are much more susceptible than dogs; dogs are somewhat more resistant because their higher body temp is somewhat adverse to plague.
Prevention of plague:  Minimize exposure to rodents; remove food; seal holes in living spaces; don't sleep with pets; take sick pets to the vet; report dead/deceased animals (not road-kill) to 311.
Treatment:  early diagnosis within 24 hours of symptoms@  Doxycycline and streptomycin. 
Dr. Paul Smith is the Urban Biology Division Manager @ 452-5301. 
If you want to acquire some snakes to go after your rodents, the Ag. Extension gives them away, but there's a waiting list.
Transmission is similar to plague--via dog tick, deer fly, mosquito.  Rare cases can be airborne. One single bacterium can infect you.  Symptoms are fever, chills, sweating, shortness of breath, weight loss, & ulcer at the site-of-entry.  Prevent by using repellent.  Don't handle game.  Cook game meat thoroughly.  Use tick prevention on pets.
Treatments are streptomycin and tetracycline.  5% of infected people die if untreated. 



These are some very abbreviated from Commissioner Brasher's very informative meeting on Aug. 4th.  Speakers were Dr. Paul Ettestad, Veterinarian and Epidemiologist for the NM Dept. of Health, Dr. Mark DiMenna, Entymologist, Supervisor of the City of Abq. Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Disease Division (452-5301), Jeff Sheyka, plague specialist (452-5302) ,and George Schroeder of Environmental Health. Commissioner Brasher intends to have this taped presentation shown on government tv.



Plague first came into the US in about 1900 at the ports of Honolulu, Galveston, and San Francisco.  Today plague is found mostly in the western US.  Fleas are carried on rock squirrels and prairie dogs, mainly.  Some types of fleas are better carriers than others.  71% of those who get plague have gotten them from flea bites. 


There are 3 forms of plague:  septicemic, bubonic, and pneumonic (inhaling it).  Don't worry about the last kind, because there hasn't been an incidence of that kind in the US since 1925.  There have been 53 cases of plague in the US between 1970 and 2008.  Most of those have been in the counties of Santa Fe and Bernalillo. 


Incidences of plague follow El Ninos.  Most cases are in summer.  The first case in the East Mtn. was 1959.  There have been 46 cases in the EM from 1959 to present.  17 cases occurred in the EM between July 2005 and July 2009.  (There was a total of 24 cases in all of NM during that same span of time.) 


The highest risk of plague is at an altitude of 2300 m--or about 7000 feet and is associated with populations of pinon trees and juniper trees.  (That's us.)  Wood piles are the main habitat.  Rock squirrels are the most common host, and as many as 600 fleas have been counted on one rock squirrel.  They also affect deer mice, pinon mice, and wood rats (that's the packrat).  Exposure for people is near their homes.


There have never been any cases of Hanta virus in Bernalillo County--ever.  The recommended disinfectant for rodent droppings is a bleach and water solution.


West Nile virus is transmitted by mosquitoes.  There have been no cases in NM this year to date.


Report mysteriously dead rock squirrels or prairie dogs near vacated colonies to the Health Dept.(See phone nos. above.)  Handle dead rodents with care.


Christine Smith




Bernalillo County Seeks More Information on Unpermitted Septic Systems

Property Owners Have Chance to Update Records, Apply For Permits

Bernalillo County – In an effort to protect New Mexico’s water, Bernalillo County will seek more information from the estimated 2,000 county property owners with unpermitted septic systems.

This fall, the county’s Environmental Health Office will send about 2,000 letters to property owners that may be producing wastewater but have no permit on file. The letters will ask the property owners to apply for one if they don’t have one.

Part of the permit application will include an inspection to determine whether the system is working properly.

The goal of the project is to ensure that all septic systems in the county have permits.

Homeowners would pay for the inspections, if necessary. Financial support is available for low-income families that qualify.

“We’re making an effort to reach out to homeowners to make sure our records are up to date and that Bernalillo County’s septic systems are working properly and not causing excessive pollution to our precious water resources,” says George Schroeder, environmental health manager. “Homeowners will have the opportunity to update the records and comply with this ordinance. It’s possible that the homeowner has more complete records than the county, and this is a chance to update the files.”

Although the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority has extended sewer service to many rural areas in Bernalillo County, not all areas have that service. Property owners with unpermitted septic systems generally don’t have access to that service.

Today, there are roughly 20,000 permitted septic systems in Bernalillo County.

Financial assistance is available to both pay for the inspections and in some cases rebuild or replace failing septic systems and waste pools. Income guidelines and other factors apply.

Call the Bernalillo County Environmental Health Office for more information at 505.314.0310.

To view a copy of a wastewater system permit application, click here.

To learn more about wastewater issues, click here.

# # #






Commissioner Johnson Urges

Bear Smarts


Safer Community for Residents and Bears



Bernalillo County – Commissioner Wayne A. Johnson encourages county residents, especially those in the East Mountains, to take precautions with bears.


Residents are encouraged to make their homes and yards bear proof to increase safety for both bears and people.

“A bear’s eating behavior can alter after just one meal. Once the bear identifies a resident’s home as a source of food, it will continue to go back,” says Commissioner Wayne A. Johnson.  “Eliminating their access to our trash is the number one thing people can do to prevent a problem.”

One of the biggest attractions for bears is unsecured garbage, and bears will often visit a same spot again and again. Other big lures for bears are bird feeders, pet food and barbeque grills.

A little prevention can go a long way. Residents should place bird feeders out of reach, and bring them in at night. Also, barbecue grills should be cleaned and stored; trash should be secured in a garage or shed; and garbage should be placed outside only the same day of pickup. Each of these steps can deter bears significantly.

The danger in attracting bears is that the animals can become comfortable with humans, which can lead to problems for people and these animals.

As bears get used to feeding off trash, they tend to become more bold and aggressive. Looking for more, they could start breaking into homes and cars and become less fearful of people.

Right now, bears are consuming anywhere from 1,500 to 4,000 calories a day.  In a few weeks, they will begin to prepare for hibernation and will need to eat as many as 15,000 to 23,000 calories a day.

For more tips on bear proofing your home and yard, please visit








Subject: EMIFPA: Fire Notification from Bernalillo County

You can go to the web site at if you want to read it on
their web site. 


In our continued effort to improving the safety of citizens in the unincorporated areas of Bernalillo County , Bernalillo County and the Emergency Communications Center (E9-1-1), are pleased to announce you may now register your cellular and/or VoIP phone number(s) for the purpose of receiving emergency notifications. Bernalillo County has an emergency notification system which can be used to send important messages to residents and businesses within the unincorporated areas of the County with the capability of sending thousands of messages in a very short time, based on the geographic location of an incident.

Examples of Emergency Notifications may be:

  • Evacuation notices due to emergency situations, such as fire, flood or other environmental hazard.
  • Notifications of dangerous situations in your area, such as an environmental hazard, law enforcement investigation or other instance where you may be instructed to remain in your home.

* Notifications are NOT automatic and are sent at the direction of an incident commander or other managing authority of a situation.

If you have a landline phone, either residential or business, your phone number has automatically been entered into the system and is capable of receiving an emergency notification.

If your primary phone is a cellular/VoIP phone number and you would like to receive the emergency notification you will need to register the phone number with Target Notification.

Keep in mind once you register your phone number and the Bernalillo County Emergency Communications Department sends out an emergency message, you will receive the notification even if you are NOT in the affected area at the time.

Also, if you change your cellular/VoIP phone number you will need to re-register it.

If you need further assistance please contact: Jared Sanchez at 798-7004

Emergency Notification Opt-In for Cellular/VoIP Phones

In our continued effort to improve the safety of citizens in the unincorporated areas of Bernalillo County, Bernalillo County and the Emergency Communications Center (E9-1-1), are pleased to announce you may now register your cellular and/or VoIP phone number(s) for the purpose of receiving emergency notifications. Bernalillo County has an emergency notification system which can be used to send important messages to residents and businesses within the unincorporated areas of the County with the capability of sending thousands of messages in a very short time, based on the geo-graphic location of an incident.

Examples of Emergency Notifications may be:

·         Evacuation notices due to fires, floods or other environmental hazard.

·         Notifications of dangerous situations in your area, such as an environmental hazard, law enforcement investigation or other instance where you may be instructed to remain in your home.


* Notifications are NOT automatic and are sent at the direction of an incident commander or other managing authority.

If you have a landline phone, either residential or business, your phone number has automatically been entered into the system and is capable of receiving an emergency notification.

If your primary phone is a cellular/VoIP phone number and you would like to receive the emergency notification you will need to register the phone number with Target Notification.

Keep in mind once you register your phone number and the Bernalillo County Emergency Communications Department sends out an emergency message, you will receive the notification even if you are NOT in the affected area at the time.

Also, if you change your cellular/VoIP phone number you will need to re-register it.

To opt in please go to

 and go to “Click here to opt-in for EMERGENCY NOTIFICATION “

If you need further assistance please contact: Jared Sanchez at 798-7004

Emergency Notification Opt-In for Cellular/VoIP Phones








I got 2 replies from people suggesting services for snow removal.

Lynn Moir

Chris Spear has a Bronco and a plow, he is out and about right now servicing his many customers.  If you call him, he can advise on the costs - dependent on the driveway or business.  Chris takes care of Mountain Insurance, the Shell station and many others.

If there is an elderly person or couple that needs their driveway shoveled he may give them a better rate, he is a very kind person.

I have not checked these folks out but they are suggestions from our members,
Have a good day,
Mark Emery






Dave on Pinon Heights, got this great shot of an Owl in his backyard recently.



Wildfire Safety Tips - Are You Prepared?
Provided by the Bernalillo County Fire Prevention Division - 2012
Wildfires are burning in the area, wind and heat has begun to dry out grasslands and brush. Forecasted heat for Eastern NM and West Texas, and warm winds are making for an increasing threat of wildfires. Additionally, more and more people are making their homes in grasslands of the Eastern New Mexico and the West Texas Panhandle. There, homeowners enjoy the beauty of the environment but face the very real danger of wildfire.

Every year across our nation, some homes are spared while many others are destroyed after a major wildfire. Those that survive almost always do so because their owners had prepared for the eventuality of fire, which is an inescapable force of nature in fire-prone wild land areas. Said in another way – if it's predictable, it's preventable!

Wildfires often begin unnoticed. They spread quickly, igniting grass, brush, trees, and homes. Reduce your risk by preparing now – before wildfire strikes. Meet with your family to decide what to do and where to go if wildfires threaten your area. Follow the steps listed below to protect your family, home, and property.
Practice Wildfire Safety
People start most wildfires …find out how you can promote and practice wildfire safety.
  • Contact your local fire department, health department, Bureau of Land Management or forestry office for information on fire laws.
    • Ensure adequate accessibility by large fire vehicles to your property and home.
    • Clearly mark all driveway entrances and display your name and address.
    • Report hazardous conditions that could cause a wildfire.
    • Teach children about fire safety. Keep matches out of their reach.
    • Post fire emergency telephone numbers.
    • Plan several escape routes away from your home – by car and by foot.
    • Talk to your neighbors about wildfire safety. Plan how the neighborhood could work together after a wildfire. Make a list of your neighbors' skills such as medical or technical. Consider how you could help neighbors who have special needs such as elderly or disabled persons. Make plans to take care of children who may be on their own if parents can't get home.
Before Wildfire Threatens
Design and landscape your home with wildfire safety in mind. Select materials and plants that can help contain fire rather than fuel it. Use fire-resistant or noncombustible materials on the roof and exterior structure of the dwelling, or treat wood or combustible material used in roofs, siding, decking, or trim with fire-retardant chemicals evaluated by a nationally recognized laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL). Plant fire-resistant shrubs and trees. For example, hardwood trees are less flammable than pine, evergreen, eucalyptus or fir trees.
Your best resource for proper planning is which has outstanding information used daily by residents, property owners, fire departments, community planners, builders, public policy officials, water authorities, architects and others to assure safety from fire – it really works. Firewise workshops are offered for free all across the Nation in communities large and small and free Firewise materials can be obtained easily by anyone interested.
Create a 30- to 100-foot safety zone around your home 
Within this area, you can take steps to reduce potential exposure to flames and radiant heat. Homes built in pine forests should have a minimum safety zone of 100 feet. If your home sits on a steep slope, standard protective measures may not suffice. Contact your local fire department or forestry office for additional information.
Create a 30-foot safety zone around the house.
Keep the volume of vegetation in this zone to a minimum. If you live on a hill, extend the zone on the downhill side. Fire spreads rapidly uphill. The steeper the slope, the more open space you will need to protect your home. Swimming pools and patios can be a safety zone and stone walls can act as heat shields and deflect flames. In this zone, you should also do the following:
  • Remove vines from the walls of the house.
  • Move shrubs and other landscaping away from the sides of the house.
  • Prune branches and shrubs within 15 feet of chimneys and stove pipes.
  • Remove tree limbs within 15 feet of the ground.
  • Thin a 15-foot space between tree crowns.
  • Replace highly flammable vegetation such as pine, eucalyptus, junipers and fir trees with lower growing, less flammable species. Check with your local fire department or garden store for suggestions.
  • Replace vegetation that has living or dead branches from the ground-level up (these act as ladder fuels for the approaching fire).
  • Cut the lawn often keeping the grass at a maximum of 2 inches. Watch grass and other vegetation near the driveway, a source of ignition from automobile exhaust systems.
  • Clear the area of leaves, brush, evergreen cones, dead limbs and fallen trees.
Create a second zone at least 100 feet around the house.
This zone should begin about 30 feet from the house and extend to at least 100 feet. In this zone, reduce or replace as much of the most flammable vegetation as possible. If you live on a hill, you may need to extend the zone for several hundred feet to provide the desired level of safety.
Clear all combustibles within 30 feet of any structure.
  • Install electrical lines underground, if possible
  • Ask the power company to clear branches from power lines.
  • Avoid using bark and wood chip mulch
  • Stack firewood 100 feet away and uphill from any structure.
  • Store combustible or flammable materials in approved safety containers and keep them away from the house.
  • Keep the gas grill and propane tank at least 15 feet from any structure. Clear an area 15 feet around the grill. Place a 1/4 inch mesh screen over the grill. Always use the grill cautiously but refrain from using it all during high risk times.
  • Review your homeowner's insurance policy and also prepare/update a list of your home's contents.
Protect your home
Remove debris from under sun decks and porches.
Any porch, balcony or overhang with exposed space underneath is fuel for an approaching fire. Overhangs ignite easily by flying embers and by the heat and fire that get trapped underneath. If vegetation is allowed to grow underneath or if the space is used for storage, the hazard is increased significantly. Clear leaves, trash and other combustible materials away from underneath sun decks and porches. Extend 1/2-inch mesh screen from all overhangs down to the ground. Enclose wooden stilts with non-combustible material such as concrete, brick, rock, stucco or metal. Use non-combustible patio furniture and covers. If you're planning a porch or sun deck, use non-combustible or fire-resistant materials. If possible, build the structure to the ground so that there is no space underneath.
Enclose eaves and overhangs.
Like porches and balconies, eaves trap the heat rising along the exterior siding. Enclose all eaves to reduce the hazard.
Cover house vents with wire mesh.
Any attic vent, soffit vent, louver or other opening can allow embers and flaming debris to enter a home and ignite it. Cover all openings with 1/4 inch or smaller corrosion-resistant wire mesh. If you're designing louvers, place them in the vertical wall rather than the soffit of the overhang.
Install spark arrestors in chimneys and stovepipes.
Chimneys create a hazard when embers escape through the top. To prevent this, install spark arrestors on all chimneys, stovepipes and vents for fuel-burning heaters. Use spark arrestors made of 12-gauge welded or woven wire mesh screen with openings 1/2 inch across. Ask your fire department for exact specifications. If you're building a chimney, use non-combustible materials and make sure the top of the chimney is at least two feet higher than any obstruction within 10 feet of the chimney. Keep the chimney clean.
Use fire resistant siding.
Use fire resistant materials in the siding of your home, such as stucco, metal, brick, cement shingles, concrete and rock. You can treat wood siding with UL-approved fire retardant chemicals, but the treatment and protection are not permanent.
Choose safety glass for windows and sliding glass doors.
Windows allow radiated heat to pass through and ignite combustible materials inside. The larger the pane of glass, the more vulnerable it is to fire. Dual- or triple-pane thermal glass, and fire resistant shutters or drapes, help reduce the wildfire risk. You can also install non-combustible awnings to shield windows and use shatter-resistant glazing such as tempered or wire glass.
Other safety measures to consider at the time of construction or remodeling.
  • Choose locations wisely; canyon and slope locations increase the risk of exposure to wild land fires.
  • Use fire-resistant materials when building, renovating, or retrofitting structures.
  • Avoid designs that include wooden decks and patios.
  • Use non-combustible materials for the roof.
  • The roof is especially vulnerable in a wildfire. Embers and flaming debris can travel great distances, land on your roof and start a new fire. Avoid flammable roofing materials such as wood, shake and shingle. Materials that are more fire resistant include single ply membranes, fiberglass shingles, slate, metal, clay and concrete tile. Clear gutters of leaves and debris.
  • Inspect chimneys at least twice a year. Clean them at least once a year. Keep the dampers in good working order. Equip chimneys and stovepipes with a spark arrester that meets the requirements of National Fire Protection Association Standard 211. (Contact your local fire department for exact specifications.)
  • Use 1/8-inch mesh screen beneath porches, decks, floor areas, and the home itself. Also, screen openings to floors, roof and attic.
  • Install a dual-sensor smoke alarm on each level of your home, especially near bedrooms; test monthly and change the batteries at least once each year.
  • Teach each family member how to use a fire extinguisher (ABC type) and show them where it's kept.
  • Keep handy household items that can be used as fire tools: a rake, axe, handsaw or chain saw, bucket and shovel.
  • Keep a ladder that will reach the roof.
  • Consider installing protective shutters or heavy fire-resistant drapes.
Plan your water needs
  • Identify and maintain an adequate outside water source such as a small pond, cistern, well, swimming pool, or hydrant.
  • Have a garden hose that is long enough to reach any area of the home and other structures on the property.
  • Install freeze-proof exterior water outlets on at least two sides of the home and near other structures on the property. Install additional outlets at least 50 feet from the home.
  • Consider obtaining a portable gasoline powered pump in case electrical power is cut off.
When Wildfire Threatens

If you are warned that a wildfire is threatening your area, listen to your battery-operated radio for reports and evacuation information. Follow the instructions of local officials.
  • Back your car into the garage or park it in an open space facing the direction of escape. Shut doors and roll up windows. Leave the key in the ignition. Close garage windows and doors, but leave them unlocked. Disconnect automatic garage door openers.
  • Confine pets to one room. Make plans to care for your pets in case you must evacuate.
  • Arrange temporary housing at a friend or relative's home outside the threatened area.
If advised to evacuate, do so immediately
  • Wear protective clothing – sturdy shoes, cotton or woolen clothing, long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, gloves, and a handkerchief to protect your face.
  • Take your Disaster Supplies Kit.
  • Lock your home.
  • Tell someone when you left and where you are going.
  • Choose a route away from fire hazards. Watch for changes in the speed and direction of fire and smoke.
If you're sure you have time, take steps to protect your home
  • Close windows, vents, doors, blinds, or noncombustible window coverings and heavy drapes. Remove lightweight curtains.
  • Shut off all utilities if possible, including bottled gas.
  • Open fireplace damper. Close fireplace screens.
  • Move flammable furniture into the center of the home away from windows and sliding glass doors.
  • Turn on a light in each room to increase the visibility of your home in heavy smoke.
  • Seal attic and ground vents with precut noncombustible coverings.
  • Turn off propane tanks.
  • Place combustible patio furniture inside.
  • Connect the garden hose to outside taps.
  • Set up a portable gasoline-powered pump.
  • Place lawn sprinklers on the roof and near aboveground fuel tanks. Wetting the roof may help if it is shake-shingled.
  • Wet or remove shrubs within 15 feet of the home.
  • Gather fire tools.
Emergency Supplies

When wildfire threatens, you won't have time to shop or search for supplies. Assemble a Disaster Supplies Kit with items you may need if advised to evacuate. Store these supplies in sturdy, easy-to-carry containers such as backpacks, duffle bags, or trash containers.
  • A three-day supply of water (one gallon per person per day) and food that won't spoil.
  • One change of clothing and footwear per person and one blanket or sleeping bag per person.
  • A first aid kit that includes your family's prescription medications.
  • Emergency tools including a battery-powered radio, flashlight, and plenty of extra batteries.
  • An extra set of car keys and a credit card, cash, or traveler's checks.
  • Sanitation supplies.
  • Special items for infant, elderly, or disabled family members.
  • An extra pair of eye-glasses.
  • Keep important family documents in a waterproof container. Assemble a smaller version of your kit to keep in the trunk of your car.
Create a Family Disaster Plan
Wildfire and other types of disasters – hurricane, flood, tornado, earthquake, hazardous materials spill, winter storm – can strike quickly and without warning. You can cope with disaster by preparing in advance and working together. Meet with your family to create a disaster plan. To get started…
Contact your local Emergency Management Agency or your local American Red Cross chapter
  • Find out about the hazards in your community.
  • Ask how you would be warned.
  • Find out how to prepare for each type of disaster.
Meet with your family
  • Discuss the types of disasters that could occur.
  • Explain how to prepare and respond to each type of disaster.
  • Discuss where to go and what to bring if advised to evacuate.
  • Practice what you have discussed.
Plan how your family will stay in contact if separated by disaster
  • Pick two meeting places:
1. a place a safe distance from your home in case of a home fire.
2. a place outside your neighborhood in case you can't return home.
  • Choose an out-of-state friend as a "check-in contact" for everyone to call.
Complete these steps
  • Post emergency telephone numbers by every phone.
  • Show responsible family members how and when to shut off water, gas, and electricity at main switches.
  • Contact your local fire department to learn about home fire hazards.
  • Learn first aid and CPR. Contact me for the next class March 18, 2011 or your local American Red Cross chapter for information and training.
What to do After a Wildfire
  • Check the roof immediately. Put out any roof fires, sparks or embers. Check the attic for hidden burning sparks.
  • If you have a fire, get your neighbors to help fight it.
  • The water you put into your pool or hot tub and other containers will come in handy now. If the power is out, try connecting a hose to the outlet on your water heater.
  • For several hours after the fire, maintain a "fire watch." Re-check for smoke and sparks throughout the h


















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