Tajique Public Meeting

This Thursday, Oct.13, the Forest Service has planned a public meeting for 6 p.m. in Tajique. Forest Service staff and representatives from other agencies working on post-fire recovery and flood-risk reduction are expected to be there. The specific agenda has not been released (as of Tuesday morning).

This could be a very important meeting for area residents to attend. There should be more clarification about the Dog Head Fire. There should be updates from agencies about the status of ongoing and planned projects. And, perhaps most important, this is a chance to communicate with agencies, as well as media that will hopefully cover the meeting. This is an opportunity to express concerns and ask questions about how continuing needs are to be addressed.

Document. Document. Document.

Do you have photos or video clips from your camera, smart phones, security cams, or trail cams (or Kodak Brownie) that show damage to property? Road conditions? Dangerous debris? Flooded fields? Trees that look ready to uproot or limbs that appear ready to drop on a power line? Who-knows-what floating in stagnant runoff?

If you’ve already got photos, bring them by Ten Points this Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. Even more important, bring them with you to the Forest Service’s Tajique meeting. Photos can also be sent to The Independent, for posting online or in future issues, at independent@lobo.net. Write down when and where they were taken, if you remember.

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No pictures yet? If you have a camera, maybe now is the time to take some photos, so people can see what conditions concern you. If you have a field cam, set it up so that time lapse and motion capture the rise and flow of runoff. This can help people visualize what the “current situation” is.

Are you an amateur weather geek (or a professional one)? Do you have a rain gauge in your yard at home or at your place of business? If you are not doing it already, it’s time to start keeping daily records.

Take a picture of your gauge or weather station. A citizen weather monitoring network is being formed. Solid weather data can assist several agencies to evaluate Dog Head’s impact and may help both predict and prevent future damage.

Are there Scout troops, or 4H clubs, or school science clubs which might be interested in becoming involved in documentation projects? Or individual middle school or high school or college students who might work monitoring, documentation, or interviewing into class projects? What about it, parents? What about it, teachers? Aren’t there opportunities for real-world applied homework that can directly benefit the East Mountain neighborhoods and neighbors in distress following Dog Head?

BAER

The Dog Head Fire BAER (Burned Area Emergency Response) Team’s “Executive Summary” of its assessment is dated July 1, 2016. Based upon findings, work has been undertaken by a Forest Service implementation team. It is important to note that “BAER assessment was restricted to National Forest System Lands. Assessment of the Chilili Land Grant and private lands was performed by the Dog Head Fire Coordinating Rehabilitating Group and cooperating agencies.”

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BAER treatments have included such work as road work on Forest Service roads FR 260 and FR 321; protection of several archaeological sites; weed surveys and treatments; taking down ‘hazard trees’ along FR 321; and planning and conducting an ongoing “storm patrol.”

How can residents of the area assist both BAER and Dog Head Fire Coordinating Rehabilitating Group efforts?

Security and Safety

Residents and other landowners have a lot of work to do, as they rebuild and repair fire or flood damage and seek to reduce risk from future flooding. Work requires tools, equipment, materials and someplace secure to store them.

Many fences and gates are compromised. Some roads are hard for emergency vehicles to reach. Response time for law enforcement to reach a possible ‘in progress’ situation is longer than before Dog Head.

Security of the essentials to rebuild is haphazard with phones lines not restored; with no cellular coverage; and with no electricity to power security lighting or monitoring systems. Offers by neighbors to loan equipment are withdrawn when it is pointed out that the equipment cannot be protected from overnight damage or theft. Locks? Now you see them; now you don’t.

For more information about topics mentioned in the Dog Head Current Situation series, email to 337@nym.hush.com, or independent@lobo.net, or stop by Ten Points General Store, at 10434 Highway 337. Visit The Independent’s website, edgewood.news, for each week’s update.