The Conservation Beat
3:52 pm
Mon May 7, 2012

State Officials Launch New Wildfire Warning System

New Mexicans are already able to get information about wildfires on the web or via Twitter.  But State Forestry officials say they're hoping to reach a wider audience with a new email alert system.  Forestry spokesman Dan Ware says the emails will contain a host of information that can't be crammed into a 140 character tweet, including when the fire started, the cause, and a description of threatened homes and communities.

At first, people who sign up will get notifications about all fires in the state.  But Ware says as the system grows, it will become targeted to each user's specific location.

"So if someone in Bernalillo just wants information about fires that are occurring on state and private land in Bernalillo County, they'll be able to just receive that.  People can get as many as they want and as few as they want," says Ware.

Meanwhile, Governor Susana Martinez is issuing another call to action in advance of fire season.  A nonprofit called Housing for Emergency Evacuees and Displaced (HEED) helps locate host families for people displaced by fire who may not be able to stay in shelters because of infants, pets, disabilities or age.

"I'm asking any New Mexican who would like to serve as a host family if a fire forces evacuation in New Mexico to get involved and sign up," says Governor Martinez.

The organization was started by Kristin Derr, who lost her own family home in the 2000 Cerro Grande fire.  HEED found temporary homes for over a dozen families displaced by last year's Las Conchas fire.

See today's full press conference here: