2018 Firewise Community Day and Taos Canyon Neighborhood Association Annual Picnic

Participants at 2018 Firewise Day and Taos Canyon Neighborhood Association Annual Picnic on June 24

  Photographer: Mary Short

The meeting was called to order by our president, De Lazzaro, at 1:05 pm. Shannon Romeling, from Amigos Bravos, spoke to the group concerning research being done on water quality in the Rio Fernando de Taos. The Sierra Club has been partnering with them to do water monitoring since 2007. The goal of the project is to assess levels of e-coli contamination in the river, determine the causes where the levels are high, and develop a plan to address the problem. For study purposes, the river has been divided into 3 areas: the upper part from the headwaters to Valle Escondido, the middle part from Valle Escondido to Devisadero trailhead, and the lower area which runs through the Village of Taos. Current findings show elevated e-coli in the upper and lower segments, but not in the central area. Suspected sources of contamination in the upper area are cattle grazing, elk & human impact. In the lower area the suspected source is septic tank leakage. Funding has been obtained to do DNA testing in these areas to clarify the e-coli sources. Once identified, a plan to address the problems will be developed, and funding from the Clean Water Act will assist with implementation of the plan.
The Firewise portion of the meeting came next. Natica Dahlkamp thanked the attendees for all of the clean-up work they have been doing on their properties. She said there are several different forms on the table for people to use to record various activities and expenses related to fire risk reduction. She asked us to use the forms that pertained to our particular activities, and to be sure to log them and get the reports turned in to her. She reminded the group that, due to the drought, it is especially important to keep the property cleaned up this year. Natica informed the group that Chipper Day was next Saturday and that people could bring all of their branches free of charge to the gravel pit for mulching between the hours of 9-2.
People who have ordered address signs for their property and have not picked them up, were asked to get them from Natica's porch as soon as possible and get them put up so that the fire department can easily locate addresses.
Russ Driskell, RFFD chief, then addressed the group. He thanked the TCNA for their work on procuring the address signs and asked that they continue getting addresses on all of the properties. Russ said that is especially important to be sure that any guests who use your home know the exact address of the home and the mile marker in which it is located. He said that they have had emergency calls from people who did not know the address and it caused a lot of wasted time for emergency vehicles to find them. He recommended that the address be posted very prominently inside the home. Russ told us that donations which were made to the fire department this past year were used for the 4ft. x10ft. fire restriction signs and to upgrade their communication system. They also plan to re-plaster the fire station later in the fall.

Russ continued by discussing problems with communications in Taos Canyon due to the mountains. He made several suggestions and described ways to stay informed of fires:
1. People who use cell phones from other areas need to contact their carriers and inform them if they will be in another area for an extended time so you can get weather emergency notification for where they actually are.
2. Listen to radio station notifications.
3. Taos Canyon has been divided into evacuation zones. In the event of a fire they will need to engage fire & law enforcement officers from other areas, who may not be trained in fire emergencies and may not be familiar with the canyon, to go door to door to alert residents to evacuate.
4. Residents may be asked to leave in as little as 15 minutes. They will receive very specific instructions as to which direction to travel and where to check in. It is very important that persons check in at the designated center so they can be accounted for.
5. The Ready Set Go program has a list of important items to take in case of evacuation.
6. Updated information can also be obtained at: RFFD.org
Don't forget the RFFD Open House, July 15, 2018 at the Upper Firehouse from noon 5pm.
Russ announced that there will be a memorial service for Joe Thompson at the fire station on August 11th. He also said that Mike Joyce was not doing well, and please keep him in your thoughts.
Drena Welty encouraged folks to get on the email list if they were not already, and to tell your neighbors. She has Welcome Bags for new homeowners in the canyon. If anyone knows of a new owner please let her know.
The TCNA meeting continued with the treasurer's report given by Mary Short:
$ 743.00 income; $639.00 expenses; $103.00 balance;$50.00 donations
Elections were held and the following persons were voted to serve on the TCNA board this year: Natica Dahlkamp, Shelley Loveless, Mary Short, Drena & Wayne Welty, Patricia Rausch, Ed & Jan Biller, Lynn Wilbur, De Lazzaro, New Members: Susan Kent Turgeon & Ed Strong.


ⒸTaosCanyon.org 2017