Youth Development

Wildfire Network is partnering with Santa Fe Youthworks, a non-profit that creates opportunities for disconnected youth and families in Northern New Mexico to become engaged and valued members of their communities, Ecotone, an ecological assessment, planning, monitoring, and education service, and Arid Lands Innovation LLC,  to provide hands-on training on projects in wildfire mitigation and land management.

A group of 8-10 Santa Fe Youthworks participants will work, while learning to restore and repair incrementally a 36 acre, ecologically degraded woodland property owned by the Santa Fe Institute. The goal of the program is to introduce the concept that fire mitigation is a part of a whole ecosystem, and how to plan and implement mitigation projects so that they integrate holistically with the existing ecosystem. This will prepare the participants for jobs with existing contractors, and for starting their own contracting business or pursuing further education. They will be working with local professionals to spark their interest in various forms of environmental and fire science. In the end, they will be able to appreciate the restorative results of their effort on the ground.

A series of 3 month long work/learn opportunities, led by Ecotone, on a project site owned by the Santa Fe Institute will be an in-depth work study of several key elements of responsible land/fire management:

  • Basic land management planning
  • Planning and building of erosion control structures
  • Fire behavior and suppression (via NWCG S130/190 course)
  • Fire weather
  • Hydrology and soils
  • Chainsaw safety and operation
  • Prescribed fire
  • GPS/Orienteering

During this work/study program and after their S130/190 (basic firefighting) class, they will be prepared to participate in prescribed burns with the NM Rx Council, Forest Guild and South Central RC&D to gain experience with live fire, see fire behavior and learn techniques of beneficial burning. 

The First Small Project Completed

Land Stewardship Challenges at the Santa Fe Institute's Tesuque Campus: 

  • Annual flooding and sediment build up around buildings, driveways, and garden areas, leading to damaged fences, culverts, roads, walls, etc and increased maintenance costs
  • Ongoing severe erosion and soil loss* on slopes in the upper parts of the property, leading to damaged and unsafe trails and steps, reduced water infiltration, increased peak flows of storm water run off, decreasing vegetation cover, increased drought and wildfire risks, and ever increasing potential land restoration costs
  • Densely overgrown woodlands with trees in poor health and vigor that constitute a wildfire hazard.

*Soil loss estimates for the slopes above the buildings range from 3 tons/acre/year for lower slopes to 30 tons/acre/year for the steep upper slopes, while the soil loss tolerance is 1 ton/acre/year.  This means that annually 2 to 29 tons/acre of dirt gets displaced and lost to erosion. Soil loss estimates for the eastern, lowr part of the property range between 1.5 and 2 tons/acre/year on sloipes, and up to 82 tons/acre/year in arroyos, with a tolerance of 5 tons/acre/year. Calculations were derived from the Revised universal Soil Loss Equation and the NRCS WebSoil Survey.


Goals of the Project

  • Development of a demonstration / pilot land restoration area
  • Improvement of woodland health and reduction of wildfire risk
  • Improvement of soil stability, infiltration and productivity
  • Reduction of storm water runoff, soil loss, sediment build-up and flood incidence
  • On the job training of 5 Santa Fe Youthworks participants in ecological restoration techniques

Strategies Used

  • Woodland Thinning - cutting dead, diseased and stressed trees and underbrush
  • Lop & Scatter - spreading branches to cover and protect the soil
  • Soil Conservation Structures - rock bowls, one rock dams, rock rundowns, strawbale dams, rolling dips and log and branch terracing



Our Mission

Wildfire Network works in pursuit of community wildfire resiliency by working with young adults and communities to promote firefighter safety, job development and youth mentorship. Through wildland fire and land management training, we employ and mentor at-risk youth in forest health, wildfire mitigation and safe firefighting techniques. We provide assistance to communities with wildfire risk reduction and property stewardship.

Wildfire Network believes the cornerstone of community wildfire resiliency is education in adaptive management techniques on and around private property.

Funded by:

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About Wildfire Network

We are a nonprofit 501(c3) based in Edgewood, NM

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Wildfire Network's founder is a Certified Wildfire Mitigation Specialist, through the NFPA

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Wildfire Network
47 Sunset Blvd
Edgewood NM 87015


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