By RANDALL RYTI
Los Alamos County Council
As the risk from the Cerro Pelado Fire eases with less active fire and more containment, it seems like an appropriate time to recognize the people that got us to this point. First. I will begin by thanking the Los Alamos Fire Department and Wildland Fire Division for their early and continued response to the fire. Chief Hughes and Wildland Chief Sterna lead a well-trained and dedicated group of professionals, and they deserve our appreciation.
Also, deployed to the fire were two Type 1 incident management teams (Southern Area Red Team 1 and Great Basin Team 1) and a Type 2 team on site now (Rocky Mountain Team 3). Their regular community meetings, press releases, and updates on social media have kept everyone informed. Those management teams and the more than 1,000 firefighters deployed from across the nation are also greatly appreciated for all they did to keep the community safe.
I also need to acknowledge the County emergency response led by Beverley Simpson, Emergency Operations Manager, and her crew of County staff. The response was seamlessly coordinated between the County, Los Alamos Public Schools, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Department of Energy, and numerous other agencies and area landowners. Once the emergency has truly passed the County can evaluate what worked well, identify any areas for improvement, and continue to be prepared for the next incident.
I also want to thank the community for helping out, staying calm, getting information and making personal preparations to deal with the fire and potential evacuation. Among these efforts were the boxes of thank you notes written by schoolchildren and delivered to the fire camp. I know that the firefighters appreciated receiving those notes.
Another thing we can all do is to continue to be vigilant as dry and windy conditions continue and without precipitation the exceptionally dry vegetation is highly combustible. Plants of all types have exceptionally low moisture content, meaning that any ignition has almost certainty of spreading.
Our thoughts must also turn to those other communities already impacted or being threatened by wildfire, and we must do whatever we can as individuals and as a County to support our neighbors. They have done so for us in the past. For those able to do, there are some links for making monetary contributions provided at the end of this letter. There is also a link to the New Mexico Department of Homeland Security webpage with other ways to help.
If you have any questions or comments on this or other topics, please contact me at email@example.com or the entire Council at ~CountyCouncil@lacnm.us.
HelpNM.com helps provide vouchers for food, shelter etc. to individuals that have been affected by the wildfires. [https://helpnm.com/]
All Together New Mexico is providing assistance to those affected by recent wildfire disasters. Grants from the All Together NM Fund will go to emergency shelter, food and water distribution, and access to medical support. [https://www.alltogethernm.org/]
Salvation Army has set up a New Mexico relief fund. [https://newmexico.salvationarmy.org/]
American Red Cross Arizona and New Mexico region is also providing relief to those affected by New Mexico fires. [https://www.redcross.org/local/az-nm.html]
New Mexico Department of Homeland Security webpage has a section “How Can I help?” Information is provided on how individuals can donate or volunteer to provide agricultural & livestock assistance, as well as a list of items (such as toiletries, diapers, etc.) that individuals can donate and where to take these donations to assist shelters and evacuated families. [https://www.nmdhsem.org/2022-wildfires/]