Thursday, March 14, 2013

Feds provide Little Bear cleanup funds

The cleanup cost from flooding that followed the Little Bear Fire will be covered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The agency announced Tuesday that more than $1 million will be delivered to Lincoln County to cover the cost of removing and hauling debris along waterways, to restore access to roadways, and to protect property. The FEMA reimbursement is expected to cover the lion's share of the cost of cleanup work that included hiring contractors to haul debris away. The total cost was $1.38 million. The fire, which was first detected on June 4, 2012, within the Lincoln National Forest's White Mountain Wilderness, went out of any kind of control on June 8, and swept across some 26,000 acres and onto private lands in just over a day. The inferno destroyed 255 homes and 28 other buildings. Its final size was put at 44,330 and went into the records as the most destructive fire in New Mexico history. In the weeks that followed, concerns grew over damaged watersheds and the impact of potential flooding during the monsoon season. Some flooding sent logs, silt and debris down some streams such as Eagle Creek and the Rio Bonito. In an August 2012 letter to the president seeking a disaster declaration because of runoff from the fire's burn area, Udall and then Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-NM, noted the city of Alamogordo, which owns Bonito Lake in the burn scar, Lincoln County and the village of Ruidoso were forced to declare emergencies the month before. The letter went on to say debris deposited in reservoirs and the high level of sediment in runoff compromised water quality for the surface water sources used by Alamogordo and Ruidoso...more

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