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Lincoln County, New Mexico to Host Wildfire Recovery Forum

Kevork Djansezian, Getty Images

Coming up this Saturday, June 30, Lincoln County, NM authorities will host a wildfire recovery forum at Ruidoso High School.

The forum will be held in the auxiliary gym from 10a-2p.

Representatives from Lincoln County government, New Mexico Division of Forestry, NM Environment Department, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, USFS BAER (Burned Area Emergency Response) team, Lincoln National Forest Service, Smokey Bear Ranger District, Village of Ruidoso, local service clubs, and numerous volunteer organizations are expected be on hand to offer assistance, or to direct residents to sources of assistance. Information on available assistance for homeowners who have lost property, recovery of burned areas, and preparedness for flooding and future fires will be provided.

According to Lincoln County officials, the Little Bear Fire recovery operation is in full swing. Lincoln County and a number of partners are working on several projects to lessen the post fire impacts on Lincoln County residents and infrastructure.

The Watershed Restoration and Protection Task Force is continuing their evaluation and restoration process. Drainage evaluation teams are assessing drainages affected by the fire to identify hazards, prioritize the work to mitigate the hazards and begin work on mitigation of the hazards. Debris removal in Mogado Creek is complete, and excavators, dump trucks and chippers are being moved to the Bonito Creek drainage to clear debris.

Also, according to Lincoln County, grass seed for reseeding burned home sites is available at the Upper Hondo Soil and Water Conservation District office, next to the USFS work center in Capitan.  Enough seed for one acre will be provided to affected property owners.  For additional information, call (575) 354-2220.

The Bonito Lake water source for The City of Alamogordo has been shut off due to questions about water quality. The New Mexico Environment Department Drinking Water Bureau is in the process of assessing water wells in the burned area, and will recommend mitigation measures to prevent damage to wells from future flood events.

Property owners in the burned area who are uninsured or underinsured may contact the Little Bear Recovery Center at the Mormon Church on Highway 48 north of Ruidoso for assistance with debris removal and other needs (575-616-7900).

All roads accessing private land within the Little Bear Fire area are now open. Some roads accessing the Lincoln National Forest remain closed. These include NM 532 (Ski Run Road) west from the softball complex near NM 48 junction and Forest road 107 above Bonito Dam (a permit from the Forest Service is required to access this area).

Anyone needing assistance with tree removal in the burned area may contact Mike Caggiano with New Mexico Division of Forestry @ (575)937-1789.

A number of Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters (VOAD’s) have set up assistance to help those who have lost their homes or suffered property damage. This assistance ranges from feeding centers to debris removal and is available to anyone who has experienced loss in the fire area. A Recovery Guide, designed to provide citizens with information regarding assistance, has been developed and is available at the Little Bear Recovery website (www.littlebearrecovery.org).  The disaster recovery team has set up an information number, 575-258-INFO (4346), that is designed to put citizens in direct contact with an individual who can provide information regarding animal assistance, basic needs, health and wellbeing, insurance assistance, legal assistance, debris removal, and other services that may be needed. This information line will be staffed Monday- Friday 8:00 to 5:00

Lincoln County officials are working with the New Mexico Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, The New Mexico Environment Department and other agencies to ensure that the citizens of Lincoln County have all the information and resources needed to recover from this fire.  Updated resource information will be available on a daily basis by calling the help line or visiting www.littlebearrecovery.org.

A help line has also been set up for area residents. The Fire Recovery Help Line is 575-258-INFO (4636). The phone line will be staffed Monday- Friday 8:00 to 5:00, Mountain Time.

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