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Small Cabin Forum / General Forum / How Well Is Your Property Prepared For Wildfires?
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# Posted: 1 May 2022 09:43 - Edited by: ICC

NM has more wildfires burning right now than any other state. Over 20 I think. The first started in early April and is still going. This is the first time I can remember that we had so many serious fires in April. A friend lost two outbuildings and a gazebo, but their cabin was spared. All metal or cement fiber covered the exterior except for a wood porch. There is a full perimeter metal skirting about 18 to 26 inches high around the full perimeter including the porch that helped immensely. Pine needles from the over winter shedding were on the ground. That had not been raked yet this year as gires "never" happen this early. That was planned for this week or next.

To a great degree it was the ground clearing for 25 feet or more that was a huge help. The fire blew in along the ground boosted by 40 mph winds with gusts to 62 mph. It started 1 mile south and the winds were blowing directly at the property. No time for any fire crews to get there first. Three cabins close by all burned to the ground.

Their entire 6 acres had beeb thinned and they were diligent about keeping the fallen branches picked up.

How is your place?

# Posted: 1 May 2022 13:42 - Edited by: gcrank1

Sounds like they might have a good view now?
Im sure it is looking far different.
In spite of the slow spring here we have been going often for day trips; 3 times this last week. We are cleaning up the scrub and deadfalls at the west side where the Jack and White pines start. The Jacks are the worst, past mature and dying/breaking off/falling. That tree line is really too close anyway but we figure getting the ground mess out is the priority, then I'll drop the dead Jacks and do it again. At least I'll be able to walk around them to cut.....
This is a lot of bull work for a guy and gal at 70ish
We only have about 15 gal water in the rain barrel, no well....and a metal roof, no close duff.....and almost always wind. The vol-fd is about 3 mi. away, but volunteer. Im afraid we would be in danger as is.
We have made a huge slash pile the past two years and just started this years. Because of burn bans I have had to wait for mid-winter and snow cover.
The flip up-side would be losing the poorly built cabin and have to build something better. If they would let us.
Our area was originally Oak Savanna, we have one of the last remnant meadows running up the center. If it burned out the trees it would be more like it was in the frontier era here when the prairie fires kept the growth at bay.

# Posted: 1 May 2022 17:16

My property is mostly 8-24in hardwoods but 3yrs ago was select cut logged and they left alot of tree tops on the ground. Between that and me clearing a cabin site I would be prety bad off if a fire happened. I was actualy stacking brush for hours this weekend for when they lift the spring time burn ban. It's very very dry up there now.

Theres so much wood down at even the front half (5ac) of my property I could have a camp fire burning for a year easily.

# Posted: 1 May 2022 21:21

We've cleaned up around the cabin, on an island, in northern Minnesota. Not a huge chance of it burning as it is on an island, but it is well insured. I am getting to old to build another and if the forest around it burned, I'd have no desire to have a cabin there. We'd take the money and run.

# Posted: 2 May 2022 17:59

We got lucky when a fire almost took our cabin and all of our neighbors' a couple of years ago. It got within maybe a couple hundred yards of our place, but scorched one wall of a friend's cabin. Fortunately our next door neighbor was a park ranger and he basically stayed there through the whole thing over several days, putting down little fires as they got too close.

If the fire had destroyed the buildings we probably wouldn't have be allowed to rebuild, it's an odd grandfathered deal inside the state park and no insurance.

The fire was almost certainly started by a careless camper along the hiking trail up on the ridge, but the forest was overdue for a burn. The mountain last burned when I was a kid, one summer back in the 1960s, all the local men headed up the hill with shovels and rakes to clear a firebreak. This time it was November and almost nobody was around, we just waited for news and prayed for rain. Now a few years later, except for the occasional blackened stump it's hard to tell there ever was a fire.

# Posted: 3 May 2022 11:15

We had a biiig fire roll through my neck of the woods back in 2006. That burned most of the easily combustible fuel (beetle-kill spruce). Took out probably 100+ cabins with it at the time, and easily could have been double that with some of the wild stories I heard.

I saw fish and game up there once, and asked what they were doing. Said they were measuring small trees. Said they are thinking of reclassifying the area to 'grasslands' as the spruce population has never rebounded since the fire. They're actually quite concerned about it as they've said its one of the only places in the US that hasn't seen the reestablishment of the forest after a large wildfire. Kind of interesting. My actual property didnt get touched by that fire, so I still have a number of healthy trees on my lot. I'll try to cultivate all the saplings as well.

I've got nearly 50ft cleared to dirt around the cabin, and I'm 5ft off the ground on steel piling. There's only one group of trees on the NE corner that could potentially pose a threat to the cabin, but they are blocking the view of another cabin so I would love to keep them around.

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