ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - Governor Susana Martinez is getting New Mexico on alert and declaring this week Wildfire Awareness Week.
Monday, Governor Martinez signed three bills to reward volunteer firefighters for putting their lives on the line to put out wildfires.
The bills will allow the volunteers to get paid a stipend and will put more money into retirement benefits for them
Governor Martinez is also starting a new firefighting program that will hire 40 veterans and make the wildland firefighters.
New Mexico has already seen almost 60 fires burn more than 700 acres in the state this year.
"While I believe resources in our state are ready for another active fire season, our residents and visitors must do their part in becoming active with community based fire prevention programs," Governor Martinez said.
Fire officials are calling on people who live in open areas to thin their land and for people everywhere in the state to not be careless.
"Protecting citizens is job one we will do all we can to reduce property loss and reduce human suffering and save lives but we need the public's help, we need people to be extremely careful with fire this year," Chief James Breen said.
This is all to prevent a repeat of last year, the worst fire season ever in New Mexico.
The Whitewater Baldy Complex Fire is the biggest in New Mexico's history and burned more than 300,000 acres in the Gila.
Also the Little Bear Fire burned 50,000 acres and 242 homes and buildings near Ruidoso.
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