Editor’s Note – Here in the southwest, we are always vigilant when it comes to fire. With droughts in Texas and elsewhere; with fire seasons approaching in desert states like California, Arizona, New Mexico, and others to the north, the vigil is on. Spotter planes fly the moment the winds whip up, and the possibility of lightening arises.
We also have the crazy arsonist angle, or the careless camper, but now, we have another worry to add – terrorism. With proven stories of terrorists working with drug cartels on the Mexican border, with arms caches being discovered here, along with Islamic artifacts and print material showing up, we know its only a matter of time before this new tactic is employed to instill fear and terror.
To those of us who witnessed wild fires in our own neighborhoods, its a level of fear not to be taken lightly. Few things will strike fear as much as a wind swept wild fire.
Terror tips found in online newsletter
Terrorist have used car bombs and flown planes into buildings to cause pain and destruction.
Now al-Qaida is telling its followers that the Southwest is like one big pile of kindling and that terrorists should burn it down.
The terror threat is in an al-Qaida newsletter online called “Inspire.”
“These threats are threats, and we are at war still with an enemy that is bent on inflicting harm on us,” New Mexico Department of Homeland Security spokesman Nicholas Piatek said.
Those threats are in the English version al-Qaida newsletter that surfaced recently on the internet.
It calls on sympathizers to start wildfires giving them a step-by-step how-to guide, even highlighting the American Southwest as a region ready to go up in flames
Not only did the newsletter talk about starting fires, it talked about which conditions would be best to get them started.
The newsletter suggests dry, windy conditions to get fires to spread, and it shows how to make a timed fire bomb with gasoline and Christmas lights.
“ Fire danger across New Mexico is very high right now,” said Dan Ware with New Mexico State Forestry. “We could have a catastrophic wildfire right now.”
Ware said this is just another reason for everyone to be on the lookout.
“We want them to be vigilant no matter what they are seeing,” Ware said. “That includes any suspicious behavior, kids playing with matches or fireworks or arson and terrorism.”
State Homeland Security said it does not have any information that New Mexico has been specifically targeted by al-Qaida, but they still have contacted police around New Mexico to warn them.
That same newsletter praised the Las Cruces-born radical cleric Anwar Al-Awlaki for his service to al-Qaida calling him a hero and a martyr.
A drone missile killed Al-Awlaki last September in Yemen.