According to the governor’s declaration, the Whitewater Baldy Wildfire complex in Grant County burned near 300,000 acres, and the Little Bear burned more than 40,000 acres in addition to destroying more than 270 homes or structures. The declaration stated the wildfire season of 2012 was the most severe in recorded history, affecting more than one million acres of burned area within the state.
Affected also is the statewide watershed, creating multiple areas of flooding concerns.
The local plan serves as a formulation for county and area resources in an effort to work together effectively. Both physical and economic recoveries are covered and the document is planned to be used in conjunction with the existing LC Emergency Operations Plan and All Hazard Mitigation Plan, dated Aug. 31, 2009.
“Since it is a living document, can we see regular updates? A lot of it is yet to be determined,” remarked Mark Doth, Lincoln County commissioner. Groups listed in the plan include Public Information, Watershed Protection, Debris Management, Roads and Bridges, Financial Management, Animal and Wildlife support and Donation Management. Areas which continue to change as demands present themselves make the Recovery Plan in need of regular updates.
“This plan needs to be monitored and updated on a weekly basis and reviewed for completeness on a monthly basis. As this review and update is continued, the completed document will give a picture of the success of rebuilding efforts in Lincoln County,” states the plan’s printed implementation process.
Discussion continued as training county employees for disaster preparedness continued. “A lot of those we’re trying to determine are county employees. They’ll step up into those roles and (we’ll) get them trained. With a living document we can adjust them as needed,” said Travis Atwell, county emergency services director. Commissioners and Nita Taylor, county manager discussed possible training methods.
“We’re thinking about additional training for our county employees to go through what we just went through – we have a couple ideas – planning and training online to become familiar with incident command.” Taylor and other county officials took advantage of the Incident Command modules and Type One Incident teams in place during the Little Bear Fire, and have utilized free online training in an effort to mitigate fire/flood issues.
Communication issues were also discussed. “Our radio (stations) should have correct information,” said Eileen Sedillo, county commissioner, who heard from her constituents about the lack of current and correct information during the early moments of the Little Bear Fire.
“That is a huge piece of what has come together in this process. We had public information officers to come and help us. We’re gearing up to speed now – how to get the word uniformly out. It was lacking at first but it came together as we improved at our jobs,” said Taylor. Windstream, is in the process of creating redundant systems to counteract information deficit should one method fail during a disaster, according to Taylor.
Monitoring current social media and print forms of information delivery for accuracy is part of the recovery plan, according to Michelle Caskey, public information group supervisor. Folks who want continued and updated information may visit the website: www.littlebearrecovery.org for periodic updates.