Governor declares State of Emergency due to Dog Head Fire

Dog Head Fire

CHILILI, N.M. (KRQE) – The Dog Head Fire that started Tuesday afternoon in the Manzano Mountains has burned hundreds of acres with no reported containment.

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The fire has reached up to 2,000 acres. Governor Susana Martinez declared a state of emergency on Wednesday night. This will increase efforts and resources to the fire; the governor has put the National Guard on standby.

“Our first priority is the health and safety of New Mexicans in the affected areas and communities,” Governor Martinez said. “I’ve directed our state agencies to offer all available resources to assist our local partners in responding to the fire, and we’ll continue to coordinate with the emergency response team to monitor the fire. Property can be replaced, but lives cannot – as our coordinated response to the fire continues, I ask New Mexicans to be mindful of this, and to not take unnecessary risks.”

Governor Susana Martinez also spoke at the meeting, telling residents the state of emergency will make money available for these small communities.

“Well certainly we’ve offered all state resources absolutely anything they need from the National Guards to police from anything we have available in resources and money,” said the governor.

Governor Martinez also encouraged residents not to wait until the last minute to evacuate, saying property can be replaced and that evacuating early will keep them and first responders safe.

New Mexico 337 is closed due to the evacuations, according to Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department.

Those in the path of the fire are devastated. “It’s been heartbreaking, it’s absolutely heart breaking my family has been here for over 165 years,” said Erin Aceves who lives on Aceves road which has been evacuated.

Erin said that while others are leaving, they will stay and try to do what they can to protect their home.

“We just started watering down houses and trying to find the cows and trying to mind my horses and make sure that everyone is somewhere we could hall out if we needed to.”

Five ranchers were stuck on a nearby road but officials say they were able to make it out safely.

Crews say the fire is moving rapidly. As the Dog Head Fire continues to grow, many people are watching the fire from the side of the road. They tell us that is all they can do: watch and wait.

“This isn’t our first fire so all of us are on high alert and it breaks our heart for the families and ranchers that can lose their properties I’m just praying for our firefighters this isn’t a fire that we get out easy,” said Natasha Zimmerman in Torrance County.

Many of those evacuated packed up what they could and left their homes behind.

Some residents were ready to head out and many were worried about what they’re leaving behind.

“Very concerned I have four brother who live part time up here and me and one brother live up here full time and we were talking about it and said if something happens to our homes there’s no way we could come back,” said Gene Torrez, Chilili resident.

Gene Torrez was one of about 100 people who live in Chilili.

KRQE News 13 was there as many were leaving town.

Some crews are in Chilili ready to fight the flames.

People with family in Chilili drove into town to help them pack up. They also came with cases of water for the volunteers.

“Once we all get together we’re a pretty tight nit family and I just thought they’re going to be hungry and thirsty I just thought it would be good to set up something to eat something to drink,” said Margaret Lucero.

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