2020 Canyon Neighborhood Association

Fire Mitigation Project

Plan for Canyon Neighborhood Association

 

Introduction:

Santa Fe Canyon neighborhood runs east from Garcia St in downtown Santa Fe up Canyon Rd and Upper Canyon Rd and encompasses Cerro Gordo to the north and Camino Cruz Blanca to the south. The western and lower elevation areas are very densely populated with very few properties on over a tenth acre of land.  Structures are a mix of old adobe and newer adobed-faced homes with flat roofs. Vegetation is a mix of deciduous trees, pinon and juniper on each very small lot.

Once on Upper Canyon Rd, the properties become larger, the homes are larger and newer, the population is more economically stable and properties are landscaped and watered. Egress from Upper Canyon Rd is problematic as the road is narrow, windy and homes on the north side of the road have no setbacks. This north side also has a river and thick deciduous vegetation mixed with some pinon and juniper.  The homes on both sides are often surrounded by coyote fencing.

Going further east up Upper Canyon Rd and Cerro Gordo, properties are larger, and perched on or on top of slopes full of dry pinon and juniper.  There is a mix of large and small lots and egress is often by one road only.

The diversity of this large area makes it difficult to create a single message that speaks to all residents.

Processes to put into place for change:

1.  Determine zones within community

The area is too large and diverse in demographics, topography, vegetation type and structure types to lump together for the purpose of communicating the importance and need for mitigation.  Wildfire Network will work with the HOA to determine the most logical splits for zoning at an upcoming meeting within 6 months. 

 

2.  Develop community contacts and messaging for each zone

The HOA will need to send out communications explaining the zone concept to the entire population and ask for volunteers from each zone to get involved.  This may take some time in certain zones and we may even find that a zone will not have any willing volunteers. If no volunteer can be found, we will urge the HOA to continue to communicate, by sending out updates of progress, successes and news of each zone to all HOA members, and continue working with the volunteers that have been established.  Once contacts are established, Wildfire Network will work with each to understand zone member demographics and needs, while encouraging the volunteers to create a group of members to share the effort of talking to the rest of the zone. 

Interested in becoming a community leader?

3.  Develop specific plans of attack for each zone

Each zone will need a specific plan to match its unique characteristics. We will work with the zone volunteers to develop specific educational language and actions to meet the needs of its residents.

Messaging

Residents in the western area zones (closer to downtown Santa Fe) will have little to no vegetation removal and messaging will be one of awareness, home hardening and needle/leaf cleanup type actions.  Residents in this area will need more outreach effort as the perceived risk is less due to the density and proximity to the city downtown area. A targeted mail-route postcard campaign and neighbor-to-neighbor communications (if volunteers are found) would be most effective for getting pockets of mitigation done in this zone area.

The areas or zones to the east traveling up Canyon and Upper Canyon Rd are both larger in structure size and lot size.  Messaging in this area needs to be one of responsibility and needle/leaf debris clean up. This area also includes some business, county and city owned properties.  The residents in this area should be encouraged to work with their public lands neighbors in joint mitigation projects. Pre-planning for a less chaotic evacuation is especially important in this area due to the narrow roads and blind driveways.  Post-fire planning would also be very important due to the proximity of the river running alongside this area.

The eastern and northern areas contain steeper terrain and are primarily pinon-juniper. Lot sizes are bigger and significant thinning can be done on most properties.  Evacuation is a major concern for this area.  Creating messages for property forest, soil and water health may have a better impact here, as many organizations have attempted to stress fire risk/fear over the years.

Grant funding, once appropriate plans for each area are completed, would be sought for each zone, along with the HOA possibly setting up a voluntary fund specifically for mitigation on properties within the community that are unable to financially bear the cost. 

It will be important to communicate through the HOA newsletter the success or failure of any projects or programs underway, and to give the volunteers driving each zone recognition of their efforts in each publication. 

Geographically large and diverse areas are notoriously difficult to outreach, and while it takes much more work to tailor messages to specific groups, the positive outcomes will outweigh it.

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