Dog Head Fire: Information for evacuees

CHILILI, N.M. (KRQE) – Nearly 300 people were displaced due to the Dog Head Fire burning in the Manzano Mountains.

Bernalillo and Torrance County Sheriff’s Departments started allowing people to go back home Tuesday at 8 a.m.

More restrictions were lifted at 8 a.m. Wednesday, but there are some other guard posts. There will be what officials are calling a “soft post” with police presence set up in the areas hardest hit by the fire. That includes Aceves Road and the northwest end of Manzano Morning Drive.

All Bernalillo County residents were allowed back into their homes. On La Jara Road, they are checking ID’s so that only residents will be allowed in.

For Torrance County residents, everyone was allowed in expect those who live on Aceves Road and La Parra Road, those roads remain closed to everything. Officials say there is too much fire damage in that area and that it is dangerous.

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The New Mexico Department of Health advises residents to take the following precautions when returning home after a wildfire:

First, only return to your home if the fire marshal or local fire authority says it is safe. Second, make sure the air is clear enough for you to be in the area.

  • Continue using the 5-3-1 Visibility Method to decide if it is too smoky for you, your children, or loved ones to be outside or to return to the area.
  • Even if the smell of smoke is apparent, the air quality may still be good. As a rule of thumb, if visibility is over five miles, the air quality is generally good. However, no matter how far one can see, if individuals are having health effects from smoke exposure, they are advised to take extra care to stay inside or get to an area with better air quality and to also see a doctor or healthcare professional as needed.
  • Avoid using your swamp cooler when the smoke levels are higher than normal and use re-circulated air if you are in a vehicle.
  • If there is smoke and other particles in the air and you are entering your home, you need to wear an N‐95 particulate mask while sifting through debris. Do not rely on dust masks or wet handkerchiefs to protect your lungs.

Next, be prepared and cautious when returning home.

  • Look out for charred trees and power poles that may be unstable including live power lines that may be on the ground; avoid spot fires and smoldering debris including live embers.
  • Wear boots, long pants, and a long‐sleeved shirt when entering your home.
  • Check for hazards before going inside your home such as the smell of gas.
  • Temporarily turn off the electrical power.

There are certain locations that are accepting people, pets, and live stock:

  • EXPO New Mexico
  • Torrance County Fair Grounds
  • Los Vecinos Community Center in Tijeras: 478 1/2 Old Hwy 66 in Tijeras. Phone Number: (505) 314-0240.
  • Bernalillo County Evacuated Dogs, Cats, Rabbits: Free boarding at New Mexico Kennels, phone 505-344-0158, 4401 Yale Blvd NE, Albuquerque, 87107.
  • Bernalillo County Evacuated Livestock: private arena open at 7001 Coors Rd SW, Albuquerque, phone 505-417-9776
  • Animal Humane New Mexico is also helping Bernalillo County Animal Services coordinate displaced pets from Bernalillo and Torrance Counties, with a First Responder Staff and Mobile Adoption Van stocked with food, water, toys, blankets, litter, carriers/cages, etc. at the community center in Tijeras.
  • VCA Animal Clinics in Albuquerque are available for boarding cats and dogs.

Closures:

The Sandia Ranger District has issued closures: all National Forest System lands, roads, and trails within bounds of the Sandia Ranger District south of I-40. Roads affected by the closure include FR 462, FR 13, FR 12, FR 542, FR 252, FR 242 and Oak Flat Road. This also affects the Cedro Peak Camping Area. In addition, Oak Flat Picnic Areas will be closed including Yucca, Locust and Oak Flat Trailhead and Pine Flat Picnic Areas A and B.

The New Mexico Department of Health announced Monday that Women Infants and Children services will resume Tuesday, June 21, at the Moriarty Public Health Office at 1110 Route 66 in Moriarty, New Mexico. WIC services have been unavailable since Friday, June 17 due to the Dog Head Fire.

Evacuations: What to do

Beginning Saturday, June 25, fire officials reduced to one phone line listed below from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Fire Information Hotline:

  • 855-585-5546

Evacuation Guidelines:

There may be conditions under which you will decide to get away or there may be situations when you are ordered to leave. Follow these guidelines for evacuation:

  • Plan places where your family will meet, both within and outside of your immediate neighborhood. Use the Family Emergency Plan to decide these locations before a disaster.
  • If you have a car, keep a full tank of gas in it if an evacuation seems likely. Keep a half tank of gas in it at all times in case of an unexpected need to evacuate. Gas stations may be closed during emergencies and unable to pump gas during power outages. Plan to take one car per family to reduce congestion and delay.
  • Become familiar with alternate routes and other means of transportation out of your area. Choose several destinations in different directions so you have options in an emergency.
  • Leave early enough to avoid being trapped by severe weather.
  • Follow recommended evacuation routes. Do not take shortcuts; they may be blocked.
  • Be alert for road hazards such as washed-out roads or bridges and downed power lines. Do not drive into flooded areas.
  • If you do not have a car, plan how you will leave if you have to. Make arrangements with family, friends or your local government.
    Take your emergency supply kit unless you have reason to believe it has been contaminated.
  • Listen to a battery-powered radio and follow local evacuation instructions.
  • Take your pets with you, but understand that only service animals may be permitted in public shelters. Plan how you will care for your pets in an emergency.

If time allows:

    • Call or email the out-of-state contact in your family communications plan. Tell them where you are going.
    • Secure your home by closing and locking doors and windows.
    • Unplug electrical equipment such as radios, televisions and small appliances. Leave freezers and refrigerators plugged in unless there is a risk of flooding. If there is damage to your home and you are instructed to do so, shut off water, gas and electricity before leaving.
    • Leave a note telling others when you left and where you are going.
    • Wear sturdy shoes and clothing that provides some protection such as long pants, long-sleeved shirts and a cap.
    • Check with neighbors who may need a ride.

Source: Department of Homeland Security

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