Thursday, May 12, 2022
With the fires raging around us, we have been reminded again that wildfires can burn at any time requiring firefighters and residents to be on heightened alert to respond to these emergencies. I want to first express my deepest and sincerest thank you. There are so many people who have stepped up to help, I can not name them all, nor can a thank you express our gratitude ! Those who have offered lodging to evacuees from Guadalupita, Mora, Holman and all the rural areas south of us. Those who have donated time, effort, food, day to day necessities, service to each other, money to help with supplies, etc. etc. etc! The Mercy Chef organization who bring 2 meals a day to all of the evacuees and volunteers. Especially the Angel Fire Fire Department, Chief Henson for his factual communication and leadership, Chris Romo and his wildland crews, Captain Sime and all the very dedicated firefighters. Also, the multitude of volunteers from Moreno Valley Fire Dept., Philmont Fire Department, Eagle Nest Fire Department, Colfax County and the Moreno Valley Ministerial Alliance. Additionally, via mutual aid agreements we have offers from Farley, Vermejo Park, Raton, Cimarron, Rapid Response, and Springer.
Thank you for your ongoing cooperation with the Village, the Incident Management Teams (IMTs) and the local fire departments involved. We have the #1 Federal Type 1 Incident Management Team in charge of this fire and they have now sent in a second Incident Management Team. This brings even more resources. It means there are 1800 expert wild land firefighters from all over the United States fighting this fire! You may not realize how many “boots are on the ground” out there, because they are at the fire, not hanging around in Angel Fire. They are the best of the best. This highly organized team gives updates twice a day on the logistics and behavior of the fire. Get factual information, visit https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/ . The updates are broadcasted on Facebook live. All of the maps you see on Facebook are generated from them. ALL of the aircraft Super Scoopers in the country are here fighting this fire. All of them! They are stationed at the Santa Fe airport. Holloman Air Force base has sent all of their firefighting device’s, as have multitudes of other fire departments from everywhere. We now have the largest heli-base operation, nationwide, at the Angel Fire airport. On the ground equipment is also here or on its way. If you are interested in the names of the equipment helping, from more fire departments than I can count, in state and out of state, follow the Angel Fire Fire Departments Facebook page. This page updates several times a day. I assure you everyone is coming to our aide. The major issue is the wind; the relentless erratic wind. A monster fire this size makes its own weather, including the winds.
Therefore, the fire at this time presents a potential threat to ours and surrounding communities; the threat is real.
We’ve again implemented The Ready, Set, Go Program that works in collaboration with New Mexico’s Living with Fire and other existing community wildland fire education efforts to help residents prepare for wildfire emergencies. Yesterday, our neighbors in Hidden Lake, Black Lake, and Black Lake Resort have been put in the Go status, having to evacuate their homes. We ask that you complete yours and your family’s preparedness level as contained under the “Set” checklist and know the “Go” checklist. We could be placed into Go (evacuation) status just as quickly.
The Village, after much thought and discussion, decided to close our village offices and send our employees home to prepare. Their safety, and yours, is our number one priority! We will be working on a skeleton crew while in Set status, so please be patient and cooperate with us during this emergency situation. The main offices will be closed, the transfer station will be accepting bagged trash only and the water and streets departments will not have full crews. If and when we are moved into Go status, which is immediate evacuation, our workers will evacuate. There will be no available services during this time to include electricity which will be shut-off by Kit Carson.
There are 22 police officers from all over the state in route, as well as 5-8 Sheriff’s deputies here and the Angel Fire Police Department. They are here to help with evacuation and security. The National Guard will be stationed at the Village Hall parking lot with a bus, for those who need transported from the Valley.
When an evacuation happens, the police and sheriffs will go door to door to let people know. The goal is for this to be completed within a 4-hour window. You will be asked to take Hwy 64 east or west. There are shelters set up at the Conference Centers in Red River and in Raton. Springer has areas set up for those who still need a place to take their livestock.
Due to the severity of this fire, individuals with compromised health issues to include respiratory or heart conditions or are sensitive to wildfire smoke should leave the area until such time as the fires are fully suppressed. If you have another home to go to, if you are an evacuee from another area, if you are vacationing here, or you would just feel better getting ahead of the crowd, then please consider leaving now. This will help when evacuating full time residents and cause less congestion on the roads.
I emphasis, we are not out of danger. We and the IMTs will continue to be proactive with our communications and in taking an abundance of caution in protection of lives and property. Again, thank you for your cooperation, especially in only utilizing official sources of information and helping us combat misleading, inaccurate information and rumors.
Be safe and cautious, hope to see you soon!
Mayor, Village of Angel Fire