The price tag to suppress the actual fire stands at more than $19.4 million. Rehabilitation costs to mitigate flood hazards, straw placement, reseeding, road and other repairs following the fire are an estimated $8.7 million. The latest damage assessment toll of 254 structures destroyed is estimated at $50 million. Lincoln County Assessor Paul Baca has not yet determined the value of neither vacant private land damaged nor destroyed nor the personal property such as recreational vehicles and campers on private land.
The economic impact of lost GRT revenues, use permits and effects from the impact of potentially lost tourism revenues for the area have not been calculated.
In addition to the current estimated $79 million price tag, the cost to completely rehabilitate Bonito Lake to a point of being able to resume the supply of water and the total cost to the City Alamogordo to tap into other sources of water are unable to estimate at this time.
Alamogordo Mayor Susie Galea made a grim announcement regarding the after fire effects on Bonito Lake. “The damage to beautiful Bonito Lake is evident. Rainfall in the burned area around Bonito Lake deposited more than 35 feet of silt which is already causing problems,” Galea said.
Galea further explained that Alamogordo is at about 77 percent of capacity but Holloman AFB uses most of the water from the Bonito Pipeline which has been shut down. “We are going to have to go back on other water sources and old wells while we work with Holloman as it may be 10 years before water flows through the Bonito Pipeline again,” Galea said. Bonito Lake supplies Alamogordo 13 to 30 percent of the 6 million gallons of water each day.
Additional heavy silt deposits during the next few years could prompt future dredging operations to return Bonito Lake to its natural bottom.
On June 18, during a tour of the incident command center in Ruidoso, Gov. Susana Martinez announced the grim milestone of the Little Bear Fire breaking the state record of being the most destructive in state history.