Associate Coordinator for New Mexico Baptist Disaster Relief, Dick Ross said, “The homeowner is in charge. We will do what the homeowner asks as long as it is within our abilities. In fact, one of our crews cut down 32 trees yesterday. We will fill dumpsters if they are available and if one isn’t available at the time we will pile it up and come back when a roll off is available.”
Samaritan’s Purse is working primarily with those with no insurance or those who were under-insured. They were also able to bring their own equipment which helps off-set costs for homeowners. You will see their well-equipped trailer at the Nazarene Church in Bonita Park. Samaritan’s Purse Program Manager, Brent Graybeal, arrived on June 14.
“We were meeting with homeowners as soon as we could and we will stay until we’re done, as long as we can find volunteers to do the work.” he said. “The volunteers are encouraged by the homeowners who are moving forward. This will not define their life.” As time progresses and volunteers need to return home, both organizations are looking for replacements.
Baptist Disaster Relief volunteer requirements:
• 18+ years
• 16 to 17 years old with a parent
• Volunteers must have health insurance.
Samaritan’s Purse volunteer requirements:
• 18+ years old
• 16 to 17 with any adult as long as they have parent permission or are with a youth group.
• 14 to 15 years old if they are accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.
• Volunteers must have a current tetanus shot
“Come as a group or as an individual. Bring your work boots and we’ll show you how to do the rest.” said Graybeal. To reach Samaritan’s Purse call the Angus Church at 575-336-8032. To reach Baptist Disaster Relief, visit the Recovery Center to fill out an application or call them at First Baptist Church in Ruidoso, 575-336-1068.
Both volunteer organizations will be here as long as there is work to do but when they leave they won’t be able to come back to help individuals. Homeowners interested in taking advantage of this service are encouraged to apply as soon as possible so that their homesite can be included in the action plan.
Flood mitigation and property restoration
Many property owners whose homes survived the fire are now wondering what to do with the burned trees on their property. Mike Caggiano with New Mexico State Forestry recommends leaving any trees that still have green needles in place until next spring to see if they will survive. Many are expected to survive the effects of the fire.
For trees that are totally burnt, they can be cut down and local contractors who normally cut down trees need no special certification to cut down the burnt ones. Instead of hauling the downed trees it is recommended that they be laid down across the slope to mitigate flood damage and control erosion. They could also be chipped and spread over grass seed. The Upper Hondo Soil & Water Conservation District in Capitan is giving away free grass seed. For more information call 575-354-2220.
Sierra Contracting is also giving away mulch to those affected by the fire and will haul the mulch for free to your site. They will also haul away metal from the fire for free.
Sandbags are available at the Lincoln County Emergency Operations Center at 111 Copper Ridge Road and are limited to 50 per homeowner. Please call 575-258-INFO(4636) for more information.
Greentree Solid Waste does provide roll-off containers for disposing of burn debris. If you are experiencing a delay in scheduling roll-off services additional resources are available, Nelson Disposal, 575-437-1468 and Southwest Disposal, 575-434-1109, still have many roll-off containers available and are a good alternative. Mesa Verde Construction and Demolition Landfill, 575-437-2995, and Sierra Contracting, 575-378-1091, are authorized to take any tree debris and housing materials if the home was built after 1989.
Homes built before 1989 are treated as containing asbestos and require special handling. Pinnacle Restoration 800-300-1943 and Servpro 505-891-2345 are both qualified to clear asbestos debris. If you have any questions about handling asbestos call the New Mexico Asbestos Hotline at 800-224-7009. As always, you may haul your own materials as long as they don’t contain asbestos. Contact these companies directly for pricing information.