NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – This year’s wildfire season destroyed acres of forest up north, leaving Mora County residents, without resources for firewood. Now they’re getting a little bit of help just in time for winter.
The Forest Service and National Guard is working together to make sure the residents in Mora County, have firewood heading into the winter months, something a lot of them depend on to stay warm.
“It is getting cold. Now we’re in the thirty’s in the morning now, so people are going, hey, help me out, you know,” says Lead Volunteer, Tobias Lovato.
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Tobias lovato, one of the organizers of the Mora County Emergency Firewood Project, says more than fifty-four percent of the population in Mora County uses firewood as a heat source. With a large senior population, getting firewood ready in time for winter is not an easy task.
“A lot of these elderly people don’t have a way, don’t have a truck, don’t have a trailer, don’t have friends or family that can help them pick it up. So, there was a lot of requests for delivery,” says Lovato.
That’s why the county is partnering with the U.S. Forest Service to chop wood for people in need. Lovato and his partner Greg Elbring, are the volunteers leading the project. They say, although they have already made dozens of deliveries, it’s still not enough.
“The need this year is really big, because one, a lot of the, a lot of the wood burnt, or a lot of people’s forest burned during this. So, a lot of people depended on their private lands for the wood. And now that’s gone,” says Co-Lead Volunteer, Greg Elbring.
Project volunteers say, the Forest Service didn’t have enough loggers to deliver firewood, that’s when the National Guard stepped up to help. They brought logging trucks and giant rigs to help deliver wood.
“It’s been really, really rewarding for us because the smile on their face the fact that they’re like, oh my God, I didn’t know what I was going to do this winter. Even though this is not enough, this is a great start,” says Lovato.
They say rising costs are also making it harder for people to get firewood this year. They say more than one-hundred people are on their waiting list. They also say they’re trying to make this a yearly project. They plan to submit a proposal to the state soon.