| Post-fire RoundupNM Fire Info


USFS Southwest Region | September 20, 2022

Punky Moore, sandra.moore2@usda.gov

This roundup is intended to keep you informed about the progress that is being made on the National Forest Systems land affected by wildfires in 2022. 

The primary Federal responsibilities for the recovery on National Forest System lands lie with the USDA Forest Service (FS) and for private lands with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). The USDA Farm Services Agency (FSA) provides critical emergency relief under its programs.

The Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) program is designed to address emergency stabilization issues related to wildland fire. The goal of the program is to identify imminent threats to human life and safety, property, and critical, natural and cultural resources on National Forest System lands and take emergency action to manage risks.

BAER needs to be done as quickly as possible, but safety always comes first. Despite dealing with challenging monsoon weather, crews have persisted and made great progress.

After 27 days of work, contractors completed aerial seeding on 9,400 acres and mulching on 1,280 acres burned in the Hermits Peak-Calf Canyon Fire. The treatment areas are Forest Service Lands with high to moderate soil burn severity in the Gallinas Creek and Tecolote Creek watersheds.

The priority for BAER is human life and safety. To warn and inform the public, hazard signs have been installed across the fire area. Road crews have completed most of the storm-proofing of roads. The ongoing storm inspection and response contract is signed and ready for task orders to be placed.

An Open House was held on Sept. 15 in Las Vegas, NM in coordination with partner agencies to provide information to community members about assistance and ongoing post-fire response.

Providing free wood to people affected by the fire is a true community effort. This endeavor has been ongoing throughout the summer with a key agreement in place with the State of New Mexico, through which the National Guard delivers wood to sites. Deliveries began Wednesday to a site in Mora County. More partners and volunteers stepped up to help deliver wood or host a community wood distribution site.

For the Carson National Forest, two campgrounds along the Rio Pueblo remain closed, day use is allowed.

All hazard/warning signs have been installed. The fire area closure has been lifted.

The BAER team identified priority treatment locations within the McBride fire area where moderate to high soil burn severity occurred. On September 1, 335 acres were treated by aerial seeding. This treatment will help stabilize the hillsides impacted by the fire to reduce post-fire runoff and erosion in the Devils Canyon, Middle Rio Ruidoso and Upper Rio Ruidoso Creek/River watersheds on NFS lands. In addition, all hazard and warning signs are installed.

NRCS is working with landowners and residents. Signs have been installed. Impacts from flooding are on lands off the Forest.

Crews are making progress with the repair of roads and infrastructure, especially into year-round residence inholdings. Forest Service Road 150 is now open and passable. The road is evaluated following storm events in the event it requires closing.

Signage has been installed at trailheads, campgrounds and other public access points around the fire perimeter. A vendor is constructing metal gates which will be installed at campground entrances when they are available.

On these fires, the road storm inspection and response are ongoing while road crews try to keep the roads passable for UTVs needed for transport to areas to work on natural gas and water pipelines that became exposed and damaged during the fires.

The BAER Assessment was completed, and funding was approved.

All warning signs have been installed. A closure is in place on parts of Forest Road 549 and Forest Road 73.

Partnerships

Post-fire emergency response is a shared responsibility, as is the assistance for longer-term recovery from fire effects on lands and communities. The Region is currently managing nine post-fire response incidents.



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