A little bit of context
North central New Mexico is full of wildfire fuel. Homes are located throughout numerous wildland urban interface (WUI) areas, many having been there long before counties adopted building and land use codes. In some areas, generations of families have lived for years during relatively wet periods of time, but now face land that is overstocked with vegetation and drought which has weakened trees, making them susceptible to disease and dry fuel for wildfire.
And there’s a problem
An aging population, coupled with economic depression makes for a lot of people with overgrown forests for back yards and no way of dealing with it. Tree thinning is physically hard work, and hiring contractors is notoriously expensive.
There are also many at-risk youth with no hope of a job, little work ethic and virtually no understanding of the environment they live in.
The forest itself is so overgrown that everything within it is suffering with lack of sufficient water, sunlight and nutrients.
Here’s what we’re doing about it
We're trying to kill two birds with one stone.... We are in the process of creating a program that trains at-risk youth to perform wildfire mitigation and forest health services, including prescribed fire in sensitive but effective ways. Within New Mexico, this skill is sorely lacking. Extra money we earn from these projects supports the youth, in terms of jobs and training, and supports a fund to help those who can't afford to mitigate. This fund will provide residents in need defensible space around their homes, making their home, as well as the community in which they live more resilient to wildfire. Ultimately, this will reduce the cost and damage to the economy that a potential wildfire can bring to all in the area, as well as boost employment within a vulnerable group. In order to make more of an impact within communities, we need help in building up this fund.
You can join us
Help us build up our fund to help support those who can't take on wildfire mitigation projects, and at the same time, create jobs and opportunities for at-risk youth, making communities more resilient to wildfire, the forest healthier and stronger and reducing the cost of a potential catastrophic wildfire. Every $500 in our fund means an acre of property is mitigated and 5 youth are employed for a day.