Date and time: Saturday, June 4, 2022, 12:00 pm
Venue: Carson Fire Station
Present: 17 people
The meeting kicked off at 12.00 noon with pizzas provided by Carson Café, courtesy of Carson Community Association (CCA). Peter Allen, Chairman of the Carson Firewise Committee, welcomed everyone and introduced other committee members—Art Wilbur, Scott Freeman, Jeremy Paine, and Paul Green.
SCOTT FREEMAN, who is also Carson’s Fire Chief and CCA Vice President briefly touched on: (1)Firewise: Who we are, what we do; operates under CCA’s non-profit umbrella and within CCA’s legal boundaries. (2) Firewise certification: Gives us some standing with Taos County, and access to materials and manpower. (3) CVFD current capacity: Equipment includes two engines and one brush rig; 14 volunteers. (4) Pre-fire plan: Register and provide a text number for emergency alerts, and know where shelters are. (5) Ready, set, go: Color code responses to emergency alerts: green = I’m out of here; yellow = on my way out in 20 mins; red = help, come get me. Important to leave when ordered so as not to unnecessarily endanger fire safety volunteers and personnel. Ideally maintain three sets of “go” bags at home, in vehicle, and wherever you are. (6) Reduce wildfire threat: create defensible space around your home; reduce fuel by trimming trees especially dead or dying ones; keep vegetation below waist height so as not to provide ladders for fires to jump to crowns; make it easy for CVFD to find your house with clear number and road signs, and to get in and get out; indicate whether they will be driving by a propane tank; be prepared with a concise description of your location when calling 911.
PETER VIGIL, who is District Manager at Taos Soil and Water Conservation District (TSWCD) gave a brief history of Soil and Water Conservation Districts: the last surviving New Deal program signed into law in 1936, as a way to help private landowners manage their resources according to their values and beliefs. In tackling climate change, forests are the only tool that can take carbon out of the atmosphere in a big way, sequestering it in lumber. An Amoco executive became interested in a cost-sharing program for owners to thin trees on their properties, starting with $20,000 funding in Taos Canyon. This program continues today and is free to landowners only as only they can authorize government to come on their property. Owners can apply for a cost-share grant during two periods: July 1–December 31, January 1–June 30. A forester will inspect an applicant’s property and make recommendations on the work that should be done. TSWCD will rank applications based on the prescriptions, community wildfire protection plans, and Firewise standing, and decide on who to award grants to and how much The old 85/15 ratio was dropped because skyrocketing costs during the pandemic, but a majority of the costs will be covered. Property owners have a year to get work done themselves or by recognized contractors or organizations such as the Rocky Mountain Youth Corp. The work will be inspected to ensure it’s up to standard before grant money is released. Any queries, feel free to drop by at TWBCD offices, 220 Chamisa Rd (near Sagebrush Inn).
Paul Green: Remember that the Firewise program recognizes any work done to reduce fire risk in the community. For Carson to maintain its Firewise status, a detailed report has to be submitted every year about the time and effort the community has put into all relevant tasks to maintain defensible space between house and trees. Carson has in the past exceeded the basic requirements to meet the Firewise standard.
Art Wilbur: Remember that you may need to evacuate at night, so know where your stuff is.
Scott Freeman: Good idea to maintain two first aid kits: in your house and in your vehicle. CVFD needs more volunteers to drive engines or provide medical assistance; a lot of training is now done online. Evacuation notices will be sent by the county and also CVFD; call county 911 to get on their list.
Jamie Kingsbury: Carson NF has been allowed to do more management and the pinon-juniper habitat here is relatively sparse and has lower fire risk than high country pine habitats which are more prone to burn once a fire starts.
The meeting ended at 2.30 pm.