LAS VEGAS, N.M. (May 12, 2022) – As the Calf Canyon-Hermits Peak Fire looks to move into Taos County, residents are on edge. Especially those people who have already evacuated to the village of Taos.
There’s a cloud of heavy smoke billowing from those fires as the high winds continue – threatening many more communities like Angel Fire – and this is something that evacuees, and the officials responsible for providing them shelter, are concerned about.
“The impact directly on citizens is dire,” says State Rep. Roger Montoya (D- Velarde). “We have elders, extremely poor individuals, no homeowners insurance in many cases. Nowhere to go. In need of medical care.”
Rep. Montoya says around 600 to 700 people have evacuated to areas in his jurisdiction, which includes Colfax, San Miguel, and Mora counties among others. He says it is very difficult to get a full picture of how many people are displaced if they evacuate to other areas, but that they are working to meet people’s needs as they discover them.
Montoya says Homeland Security at the state level has asked them to submit a list which, he says, can grow by up to 100 names a day of evacuees. News 13 reached out to them for comment about the scope of this situation but did not hear back.
“They are displaced because of the actions of the US. government” says Rep. Montoya. “Lighting the fire was something that was beyond their control and so, as a representative of the government, I am inspired and committed to ensure our people are safe.”
Montoya says there are two official Red Cross shelters taking in evacuees from Mora County, in Taos, and at the high school in Peñasco. They are working to reopen a shelter in Raton to help more evacuees as well. Everyone News 13 reporters talked to says they only expect this situation to get worse.
Black Lake and Hidden Lake are the latest areas to evacuate, along with a portion of the Carson National Forest. All visitors in the Camino Real Ranger District must evacuate by 6:00 a.m. Thursday morning.Cal