During the Sept. 28 “Current Situation” session, the following were identified as among the most critical need-to-know concerns:

Drinking water: Where have drinking water wells been tested? When were tests done? What tests were performed? What have been the results? What further testing is planned? When and where? What agency has responsibility? Who is the contact person and how can she or he be reached? Please show us maps and provide details. What options are available for residents, landowners, or businesses with water quality concerns?

Aceves Road: When will Aceves Road be made passable, with the public section restored to the condition prior to Dog Head? Passable means that fire, law enforcement, and emergency medical vehicles can get in (and back out), as well as vehicles and equipment needed for utility and infrastructure repair. Specific timeline, please.

Note: As an example of volunteer effort, one resident has provided very specific suggestions to address conditions along disastrously impacted Aceves Road:

• Ditches along both sides of Aceves Road need to be cleared and maintained from address #90 to the school bus turnaround. This is most critical from the middle cattle guard to the portion beyond addresses #250 and #266.

• At a low spot in the road before address #250, runoff crosses the road, where “a culvert under the road at this point, has long since been covered / filled in with debris.” It is probably no longer feasible to clear the culvert; it must be replaced, with one of suitable size.
* Past the school bus turn around, and over the 3rd cattle guard, another culvert between addresses #318 and #332, has been completely buried. It also needs to be replaced with one of suitable size, since it can no longer carry runoff.

• If the area just west of #266, on the south side of the road, next to the driveway, is dug out, this would allow run off water to “pool,” slowing it down and help to reduce the flow that is now going up, and over the driveway.

Hazardous and toxic waste contamination: Have known or suspected sites within the burn scar and floodplain been identified and inspected to determine whether and where toxic materials may have been released into runoff? What agency is responsible to do this? We need to know this now. Maps, please.

Building permits: Can some expedited permit process be adopted for property owners who are attempting to rebuild or repair residences?

Debris removal: What provisions are being made to enable landowners to remove debris from fire or flooding damaged property. Who can help? What agencies have responsibilities and resources? We need names, contacts, and details.

BAER recommendations. A request for a summary of recommendations made by the Dog Head Burn Area Emergency Recovery (BAER) team has not yet been responded to by either the Cibola National Forest Headquarters or the Southwest Region Headquarters of the U.S. Forest Service. USFS, please provide as detailed a list as has been prepared.

Relatedly, work planned or undertaken by cooperating agencies in the Dog Head Fire Coordinated Rehabilitation Group is summarized at the “Dog Head Fire” tab of the website for the Edgewood Soil and Water Conservation District at eswcd.org/.

At the national level, the Forest Service encourages communities to engage in rehabilitation and restoration work as individual and group volunteers. How can individuals and civic organizations (youth groups, for example) be of assistance? Please inform us; or better, sit down with us and let’s talk about it.

Apparently, the Forest Service will conduct a public meeting in Tajique on Thursday, Oct. 13 at 6 p.m. An agenda is not available yet. Hopefully it will provide opportunity for residents and other members of the public to seek clarification about Dog Head rehabilitation and recovery efforts underway, as well as to present concerns that do not seem to be addressed at this time.

We encourage residents and representatives of other agencies to attend that session, both to present updated information and to listen to residents’ ‘current situation’ concerns and ideas.

Maps and other information relevant to “Immediate Need-to-Know” topics or other aspects of the Dog Head Current Situation can be emailed to 337@nym.hush.com, or independent@lobo.net, or dropped off at Ten Points General Store, at 10434 Highway 337. Look at The Independent’s website, edgewood.news, for each week’s update.

This week’s Dog Head Current Situation session will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 5 at Ten Points. Next week, we will plan to attend the Public Meeting being scheduled in Tajique.

Leota Harriman
Leota Harriman

Leota started working for The Independent in 2006, working her way up through the ranks. An employee buyout in 2010 led to her ownership of the newspaper. Leota has served on the board of the N.M. Press Association, and is currently its First Vice President. She is passionate about health and wellness, especially mental health, and loves making art. She can be reached at news.ind.editor@gmail.com.