Forest Service Hosts Fire/Flood Recovery and Restoration Workshops

Albuquerque, NM — The Southwestern Region of the Forest Service is working with federal, state, and local agency partners to host two Fire and Flood Recovery workshops, which will provide communities affected by fires and floods with a forum to learn about available funding and technical assistance opportunities.  The workshops will be held Tuesday, July 26 in Santa Fe and Thursday, July 28 in Ruidoso and are open to individual homeowners, business owners, community leaders, and affected tribes.

“I know fires and floods have or will affect many in our state, and it can be very difficult to navigate the various assistance programs,” stated Regional Forester Corbin Newman.  “I’m very pleased USDA agencies as well as representatives from other federal, state, and local agencies can offer this opportunity for our communities to learn what programs are available to them,” he added.

New Mexico received 2 percent or less of normal precipitation for the first 6 months of the year.  The record dry conditions were accompanied by higher than normal temperatures, sustained high winds through May and June, and extremely low relative humidity readings – all contributing to extremely volatile fire potential.  Large fires began with the White and Last Chance Fires on the Lincoln National Forest and the Miller Fire on the Gila National Forest—all in April.  In May, we saw the Mayhill Fire on the Lincoln, followed in June by a portion of the Wallow Fire and the Pacheco and Las Conchas Fires on the Santa Fe National Forest.  Now, many areas of the state are receiving  monsoonal moisture, which can and will bring floods and other impacts to burned areas and surrounding communities.

The workshops will begin with a brief overview of the fire season, immediate efforts underway to stabilize burned areas and protect communities from floods, and the long-term needs for restoration. The remainder will be an open house format where attendees can meet with agency representatives who have information on assistance programs. Information will be available on topics such as rehabilitation efforts; grazing; livestock and agriculture; watershed and forest restoration; community infrastructure; small business assistance; and housing and insurance. There will be an identical afternoon (2:00 – 4:30 p.m.) and evening session (6:00 – 8:30 p.m.) at each location.

Among the representatives at the workshops will be the Forest Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Rural Development, Farm Service Agency, FEMA, Army Corps of Engineers, New Mexico State Forestry, New Mexico Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, and other agency partners.

Dates, times, and locations:

July 26 – Santa Fe, NM                                                          July 28 – Ruidoso, NM
2:00 – 4:30 p.m. & 6:00 – 8:30 p.m.                                      2:00 – 4:30 p.m. & 6:00 – 8:30 p.m.
Buffalo Thunder Hotel                                                            Ruidoso Convention Center,
20 Buffalo Thunder Trail                                                        111 Sierra Blanca Drive
(15 minutes north of Santa Fe)

Information on these workshops is also posted at http://www.fs.usda.gov/r3.