Relief options | | Santa Fe Reporter
As the Hermits Peak and Calf Canyon fires encroach on Las Vegas, authorities issued evacuation orders Monday for parts of the city. But many facilities in and around the city have already taken leave.
The Behavioral Health Institute in Las Vegas evacuated the 197 patients to other facilities in the state, taking some residents as far as Truth or Consequences and Santa Clara, near Silver City.
San Miguel County jail evacuated over weekend, moving people to other jails in four counties.
Also this weekend, United World College of Montezuma, an international high school northwest of Las Vegas, transferred hundreds of students to the Glorieta Center.
With winds still fueling the blaze that has plagued firefighters for nearly a month, officials warned this weekend that it could reach 200,000 acres before it is brought under control. The current footprint of the combined Hermits Peak and Calf Canyon fires is 120,653 acres and 20% containment.
Over the past week, as more communities have been evacuated, the need for supplies and financial support has also increased. Nonprofits, organizations and government agencies stepped in to connect people in need with donors. But with the ever-changing nature of wildfires and the need to get resources to groups as quickly as possible, officials are warning donors against opportunists hoping to make a quick buck.
The University of the Highlands of New Mexico published a resource pages, outlining a list of organizations soliciting donations. The list includes the American Red Cross, HELP New MexicoSalvation Army and Las Vegas NM Community Foundation.
Other statewide efforts to get money and resources for families affected by the numerous wildfires across the state include the Together NM Fund.
Created in 2020 to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, the fund is a collaboration between the Coalition of Community Foundations of New Mexico and the office of Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham. Donations to the fund will help fund emergency shelter, food and water distribution and access to medical support.
The Food Depot has been collecting food and hygiene supplies since the middle of last week and “as always, the Santa Fe community is very generous and we get a steady stream of donations,” says Sherry Hooper, executive director of association.
During a disaster response, Hooper tells SFR that the food depot collects items based on needs identified by emergency managers working in that area.
While shelters and pantries have been able to provide meals for evacuees, Hooper says the need for hygiene products is urgent.
Firefighters and evacuees need lip balm, women’s menstrual products, soap, toothpaste, cotton swabs, socks and sunscreen. Hooper adds individually wrapped non-perishable snacks and bottled water.
The Santa Fe Area Home Builders Association requested that supplies including underwear, feminine hygiene products and specific food items be dropped off at the Santa Fe Habitat ReStore Monday morning. Miles Conway, the association’s chief executive, told SFR that those supplies, including 2,000 eggs, were brought to the Glorieta Conference Center, which serves as an evacuation site.
On social media, a number of fundraising websites have popped up in recent weeks asking for donations. Wendy Mason, spokeswoman for New Mexico Forestry Divisions, said people should try to verify the authenticity of fundraising efforts to make sure the money is going to the right people.
“The best thing is to really do your research. Make sure it’s something legit before donating,” Mason told SFR.
Mason doesn’t cite any specific examples of fraud his office has witnessed regarding the New Mexico wildfires, but “there is potential for a lot of fraud, and we’ve seen it happen.”
Elmo Baca, president of the Las Vegas NM Community Foundation, told SFR he’s heard reports of people asking for resources who “probably shouldn’t be asking for some of the help.”
He notes that due to the scale and complexity of the fire, it is difficult to access homes to assess the damage, which only adds to the uncertainty surrounding the donation process. money and supplies.
His job is to make sure money coming into his community foundation goes to nonprofits and groups in San Miguel and Mora counties working directly with those affected by the fires.
Some of the organizations Baca has already been able to help: Main Street in Las Vegas, which provides meals to evacuees; and Animal Welfare Coalition, which cares for animals displaced by fire.
The Santa Fe Fire Department is collecting supplies for ranchers and farmers affected by the fires, requesting troughs, hay, bowls, crates and paper products for the animals. Fire Chief Brian Moya told SFR that livestock supplies are being used to set up temporary enclosures for animals displaced by the fires.
Those seeking to donate livestock supplies or other food and hygiene products can drop them off at Fire Station 5 on Siler Road.
Mason tells SFR that everyone can help: “What we need is for the public to be vigilant and not do anything that could start another fire. The more fires we have, the greater the strain on our resources. »
To donate items and supplies:
The Food Depot, 1222 A Siler Road, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday
Fire Station 5, 1130 Siler Road, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday
Santa Fe Area Home Builders Association, 2520 Camino Entrada Ste. A, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday to Saturday
To donate money: