LINCOLN NATIONAL FOREST, NM – The Little Bear Forest fire started with a lightning strike on June 4th, consumed more than 43, 000 acres and destroyed 254 residential and commercial structures. It also brought together people from around the nation and within the community to help those families devastated by the loss of home and property.
The homes that were destroyed by the fire consisted of a collection of permanent residences and summer homes, but no matter what type of structure they were, the owners and leasers have lost a important part of themselves. For many it was impossible to save family heirlooms and mementos from the fire.
“We live in Albuquerque,” said Christine Moore whose family shared her childhood home as a summer home, “so we didn’t know anything about it till early the next morning.”
With many people affected adversely by the fire there has been an outpouring of support and generosity from within the Ruidoso community as well as from outlying communities such as Las Cruces and Albuquerque.
“There’s a great outpouring of selfless people who really want to give right now,” said Phil Apple the Director of Communications and Information Technology for the Little Bear Recovery Team, ”there really is some immediate need right now with things like food and water.”
As these needs are being met through various charitable and church organizations more focus is now being placed on the longer term.
“In the longer run we’re moving past the food and water and shelter needs,” said Apple. “People are going to need help going through the ruins of their house for instance, for those who have actually had their house burn down.”
With the more pressing concerns of food, water, shelter and a means to get to work being taken care of, more assistance is being sought after in the long run for some of the basic essentials as well as means of transportation for moving items from the destroyed homes to dump sites and from distribution centers to the homes.
Some of the basic essentials that are being sought are items that are normally taken for granted within the home and will be needed to help rebuild the homes. Some of them are overlooked items such as clothes hangers, irons and laundry detergent for clothing, pots and pans, silverware, plates, coffee makers and pots.
Volunteers are also being sought not only for assistance with the disbursement of donated goods to the victims of the wildfire, but to help homeowners sift through the rubble of their homes and in some instances with the rebuilding of the houses.
For more information on how to help as a volunteer or to donate items and funds visit the Little Bear Recovery Team’s website at http://littlebearrecovery.org or contact Julie Gilliland with the KEDU Radio Station in Ruidoso, New Mexico at (575) 258-1386.