Skies may be clear where you are but rain falling upstream through the areas affected by recent fires may move downstream more rapidly than usual. Water flows coming from the Little Bear Fire burn area will be full of ash and debris making them heavier and more dangerous. Consider evacuation routes that avoid main roads at the bottoms of canyons which can unexpectedly flood. Do not drive through any flooded area. Waters may be full of silt which is extremely slick and can quickly cause loss of traction. You will not be able to see through flood waters carrying ash and debris to determine whether the roadway is intact.
Waters flowing in creeks and streams that is black and full of ash and debris is dangerous and may contain toxic run off from burnt structures upstream. Do not allow your children to play in or near these waters or allow your pets to drink from them. The dark murky waters can disguise other hazards. Please keep children and pets away from creeks, streams and arroyos – even if they are dry.
Homeowners are being urged to keep culverts on their private property free of debris and to move animals, equipment and anything that could be carried downstream by flood waters to higher ground now. Alert systems are in place but you may have only a short time to respond once an evacuation notice is issued. The Lincoln County Watershed Protection & Restoration group is clearing debris from drainages in 200 square miles of Lincoln County. It is the landowners personal responsibility to clear debris from private property.
Monitor current weather conditions at www.srh.noaa.gov/abq.
The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Upper Hondo Soil and Water Conservation District are teaming up to help landowners restore burned areas and minimize erosion and flooding. Native Grass Seed to cover one acre is available free of charge at the Upper Hondo SWCD office in Capitan, 516 W. 1st St. (Hwy 380), 354-2220, across from the Capitan High School. This seed will have to be covered with mulch and watered. Mulch is also available (as much as you need) at the Capitan UHSWCD office, at the Little Bear Recovery Center on Highway 48 between MM 14 and 15, and at the entrance to The Ranches of Sonterra, Unit 1, Villa Madonna and Nazarene Church Camp (Bonita Park).
New Mexico State Forestry is now taking orders for fall delivery of one- and two-year-old seedlings from their New Mexico Conservation Seedlings program. Native trees and shrubs are available for a very reasonable price. Go to their webpage at www.nmforestry.com to order on line or call 505-476-3325 to have information mailed to you.
A Recovery Guide, designed to provide citizens with information regarding various forms of 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 (4636), 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 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Recovery and preparedness assistance can also be found at: http://lincolncountyready.com.
If you are cleaning up a burned structure, you should be aware of the inherent hazards. Learn how to protect yourself by consulting: www.tpaa.com.au/files/Fire%20Clean-Up%20Summary, www.epa.gov/naturalevents/returnhomeadvisory.htm, and www.calepa.ca.gov/Disaster/Fire.