NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – It’s not just federal hotshot crews battling the Calf Canyon-Hermits Peak Fire, so are members of the very communities it’s destroying. Emilee Lovato works for JJ Excavation and Jake Lovato Trucking Company, a family business of 31 years. She is from Ledoux, one of the towns under siege from the fire.
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“This little community is everything we have, it’s our roots,” said Emilee Lovato. “It’s heartbreaking to see the loss, it’s heartbreaking to see everyone scrambling to get out.”
They have been working alongside the fire crews, using their heavy equipment to build fire lines in critical areas and that has put them dangerously close to the flames. Many of them are also trained wildland firefighters.
They’ve been fighting fires for 24 years, but this one is in their backyard. They also help haul water for the aircrews and water to the plant where they are mixing the slurry. The team has seen a lot of fires, but this one they say is different.
“This one blows these ones out of the water because there are so many values within the area that it’s burning. Those other fires, there weren’t so many homes impacted, Cerro Grande had a lot of homes impacted but his one has a lot of little homes nestled through these little communities and it just keeps running for those communities,” said Lovato.
Fourteen members of this business have been working around the clock since this fire blew out of control several weeks ago. Lovato says one of the most emotional things about this fire is seeing those who stayed behind to protect their homes. She said they are doing the best they can, and this team is doing the best they can to help them.