Public Forum April 19 On Wildfire Economic Impact

Andrew Egan
Andrew Egan

Las Vegas, N.M. – New Mexico Highlands University will present a free public forum April 19 on the economic impact of wildfire.

The forum, “What Happens After the Wildfire? Economic Impacts of Wildfire and Post-Fire Flooding,” will be in Room 215 of the Lora Shields Building, 806 National Ave. Light refreshments will be served. The forum will be 9 a.m. — 12 p.m.

The New Mexico Forest and Watershed Restoration Institute is sponsoring the forum along with the Gallinas Partnership and Highlands University.

“The forum will address the economic impacts of severe wildfire and post-fire flooding from the perspectives of those who experienced the 2012 Little Bear Fire in Ruidoso,” said Andrew Egan, director of the forest institute. “A primary focus will be on the impacts on property, property values, and tourism. We’ll also hear from the former Raton mayor about his experiences with the 2011 Track Fire.”

The Little Bear Fire burned 44,330 acres and 254 homes, making it the most destructive wildfire in New Mexico history. The Track Fire burned nearly 28,000 acres near Raton.

Speakers include:

  • Neil Segotta — Mayor of Raton during the 2011 Track Fire
  • Mary Weaver — Ruidoso New Mexico Real Estate/Little Bear Forest Reform Coalition
  • Becky Brooks — Ruidoso Valley Chamber of Commerce
  • Gina Kelley — Village of Ruidoso Tourism Department
  • Randall Camp — Village of Ruidoso Utilities Director
  • Michelle Caskey — Lincoln County Office of Emergency Services

Since 2011, Egan said the Gallinas Partnership has worked to raise community awareness about the health and safety of the Gallinas watershed, always striving to forge the connection between the watershed and the water people rely upon.

The Gallinas Partnership includes the New Mexico Forest and Watershed Restoration Institute based at Highlands; City of Las Vegas; San Miguel County; state and federal forest agencies; state engineer; local, state and federal elected officials; private landowners; and other stakeholders.

The New Mexico Forest and Watershed Restoration Institute works to develop safer and healthier forests and protect watersheds.