Mora County evacuees begin long journey back to normal
MORA COUNTY, N.M. – Driving down the main street in Mora things appear to be back to normal. Businesses are open, evacuation orders lifted and roads reopened.
But the charred and blackened mountainsides all around are a reminder of the permanent damage New Mexico’s largest wildfire in history has done to this small community.
“It’s pretty devastating, we have areas in our county Guadalupita, Trumbull Canyon, Holman, Cleveland area, the Dew area that have blackened forests,” said Frank Maestas Mora County commissioner.
Maestas says the fire destroyed about 150 structures in Mora County alone.
“People are distraught here they’re beside themselves, their livelihood went away, some of their fields are gone where they grazed their livestock so what they use for personal burning some of the businesses lost their timber it’s devastating,” said Maestas.
FEMA has set up a disaster relief center at the VFW off Highway 518 in Mora where you can stop by to get help applying for federal disaster assistance.
Maestas says the fire has also taken a big mental toll on people in the community.
“I’ve talked to many people in our county I’ve seen a lot of tears, I’ve been through prayers with people. Folks you’re not in this alone you don’t have to keep this to yourself or held in, please reach out to these organizations they can actually help you,” Maestas said.
For now, the fire has moved on. But the burned forests and charred ground it left behind now pose a new risk as the community starts to recover, flood danger.
Maestas says the county is working with an organization to prepare for the rainy season and reduce the risk.
“The floods will come and please be prepared, it won’t give us the time like the fire did. The fire will give us a few days warning, floods won’t feel come in a hurry in a couple hours the floods will be upon you, so please be aware be informed the county will be putting out a lot of information on that in the coming days,” Maestas said.