USFS Southwest Region | September 20, 2022
Punky Moore, [email protected]
This roundup is intended to keep you informed of progress on National Forest System lands affected by wildfires in 2022.
Primary federal responsibilities for salvage on National Forest System lands rest with the USDA Forest Service (FS) and for private lands with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). The USDA Farm Services Agency (FSA) provides essential emergency relief through its programs.
The Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) program is designed to address emergency stabilization issues related to wildfires. The objective 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 to take emergency action to manage the risks.
BAER should be done as quickly as possible, but safety always comes first. Despite difficult monsoon weather, the crews persisted and made great progress.
After 27 days of work, contractors have 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 and Tecolote creek watersheds.
The priority for BAER is human life and safety. In order to warn and inform the public, signs have been installed in the fire area. Road crews have completed most of the road storm protection works. The current Storm Inspection and Response contract is signed and ready for task ordering.
An open house was held September 15 in Las Vegas, NM in coordination with partner agencies to provide community members with information on ongoing post-fire assistance and response.
Providing free firewood to those affected by the fire is a true community effort. This endeavor continued throughout the summer with a key agreement in place with the State of New Mexico, whereby the National Guard delivers lumber to sites. Deliveries began Wednesday at a site in Mora County. Other partners and volunteers have 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 permitted.
All danger/warning signs have been installed. The closure of the fire zone has been lifted.
The BAER team has identified priority treatment locations within the McBride fire area where moderate to high severity of ground burns have occurred. On September 1, 335 acres were treated by aerial seeding. This treatment will help stabilize fire-affected slopes 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 danger and warning signs are installed.
NRCS works with landowners and residents. Signs have been installed. The impacts of flooding are felt on land outside the forest.
Teams are making progress in repairing roads and infrastructure, especially in permanent residences. Forest Service Road 150 is now open and passable. The road is assessed following storm events in the event that it requires closure.
Signage has been posted at trailheads, campgrounds and other public access points around the perimeter of the fire. A vendor is building metal barriers that will be installed at entrances to campgrounds when they become available.
During these fires, road storm inspection and response is ongoing as road crews attempt to maintain passable roads for UTVs needed to transport to work areas on natural gas lines and water that were exposed and damaged during the fires.
The BAER assessment has been completed and funding has been approved.
All warning signs have been installed. A closure is in place on parts of logging road 549 and logging road 73.
Emergency response after a fire is a shared responsibility, as is assisting in the longer-term recovery from the effects of fire on lands and communities. The Region is currently managing nine post-fire response incidents.