BernCo Urges Early Fire Season Preparedness


A wildland fire on the east side of the Manzano Mountains in Torrance County north of Torreon, the Ojo de Los Casos fire, is sparking calls for residents to be prepared for any possibilities, including evacuation. Additionally, all Bernalillo County residents, and close neighbors, have the opportunity to sign up for emergency notifications through Nixle, an emergency alert system utilized by governments and agencies across the country.

Bernalillo County Emergency Management Director, Richard Clark says BernCo offers the Nixle notification service as a safety precaution. “All residents should sign up for Nixle, especially in the East Mountains where the possibility of a wildland fire is always present. Citizens need to be fully prepared,” says Clark. “Signing up is easy, it’s free and can be a lifesaver.”

Anyone who signs up for notifications through Nixle can receive alerts by email, text, or on the web. Sign up at

“If the Dog Head fire from 2016 taught us anything, it’s to be prepared,” says County Commission Vice Chair Charlene Pyskoty. “The county works hard to protect residents, and we want them to do their part as well.”

Along with signing up for the Nixle alert system, all residents are encouraged to have an evacuation bag ready at all times.

Supplies and items suggested for the bag include:

  • Flashlight with plenty of extra batteries
  • Battery-powered radio with extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Prescription medications in their original bottle, plus copies of the prescriptions
  • Eyeglasses (with a copy of the prescription)
  • Water (at least one gallon per person is recommended; more is better)
  • Map of the area
  • Checkbook, cash, and credit cards
  • Foods that do not require refrigeration or cooking
  • Items that infants and elderly household members may require
  • Medical equipment and devices such as dentures, crutches, prostheses, etc.
  • Change of clothes for each household member
  • Sleeping bag or bedroll and pillow for each household member

Plans for pets include:

  • Identifying shelter
  • Gathering pet supplies
  • Ensuring your pet has proper ID and up-to-date veterinarian records
  • Providing a pet carrier and leash

Take the following steps to shelter a pet:

  • Call local animal shelter, or animal control office to get advice and information
  • Keep veterinary records to prove vaccinations are current
  • Find out which local hotels and motels allow pets and where pet boarding facilities are located.
  • Be sure to research some outside the local area in case local facilities close

“In the interest of safety during coronavirus (COVID-19), it’s even more important that we are all aware and prepared,” adds Emergency Management Director Richard Clark. “Have a plan!”

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