Being evacuated sucks. It sucked when I drove away from Hattiesburg after Katrina, it sucks when I am unable to get into Los Alamos right now. It’s just the worst. I HATE being away from my library this long during our usually busiest and happiest season. I wanna go back to freaking work already.
So, as you might have heard, especially if you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, there’s currently a huge wildfire burning right outside Los Alamos, New Mexico, the town I live and work in. As I write this, the town is on mandatory evacuation, no one but essential people are allowed in, and the county has been closed since Monday. (I found out about all this via text message directly after the Newbery/Caldecott/Wilder banquet on Sunday night. Timing!) The fire is on track to become the largest fire in NM history and has burned over 90,000 acres in less than five days.
*I* am currently safe and sound and staying with my siblings in Albuquerque, which is about an hour and a half away from Los Alamos. All I have with me is what I took to/brought back from ALA, they called the evacuation while I was out of town.
For those of you that don’t know, Los Alamos is on the top of a very high hill. At the bottom of the hill and also part of our county is the smaller town of White Rock. It has not been evacuated yet, but our library branch there remains closed. I’ve been in touch with several co-workers via phone and Facebook and everyone I know is safe and sound, but we’re all unsettled about being displaced and, well, it’s expensive and maddeningly and frustrating. Our library facility is OK and all our locked case/rare books have been evacuated and secured as per our emergency plan guidelines. (does YOUR library have an emergency plan? It should. As per our library’s policy, my supervisor’s copy is in the trunk of my vehicle, so I am ready!) The only thing I am worried about is all my autographed books which I guess might seem silly if you weren’t a librarian.
There are LOTS of places to get info about the situation as it develops, so I won’t try to be a place for that, but some friends and colleagues have wanted to know what they can do to help, so here’s a post with links to places you can donate.
If anyone reading this has other suggestions, please feel free to share them in the comments or email them to me (fatgirlreading at gmail) so I can add them to this post. You may definitely share this post far and wide and I will keep everyone updated as the situation develops.
- Espanola Valley Humane Society
- Santa Fe Animal Shelter and Humane Society (lots of pets!)
- Roadrunner Food Bank (I donate to them monthly, but you can specify that you want your donation to go to the drive for victims of the Los Conchas fire)
- And, sadly, there are currently fires and evacuations happening all over New Mexico right now, meaning Red Cross NM could use your money for shelters, supplies, and trainings all across the state.
- Thanks to Geri from NM State Library for this head’s up – the New Mexico Community Foundation has set up a fund to help non-profits and lots of the small, rural, volunteer libraries in NM fall under this heading.
- And my awesome co-worker Melissa pointed out that Santa Fe Public Library is extending an invitation for evacuees to get cards and join summer reading. And what could help more in times like these?
Even as the fire moves away from Los Alamos, it moves towards other communities in New Mexico, like the Santa Clara Pueblo, so it’s just going to be a wait and see situation until more of it can be contained. It also means that anything you give would be greatly appreciated and used well!
Thanks to everyone for being concerned about me and asking about me and even thinking about me. (me and my library and my town, that is.) Special thanks to Liz, who pushed me into posting this! It really means a lot, I promise, to know I have that network of people out there.
You can follow me on Twitter for more timely updates and I promise to keep everyone informed as things progress.
Oh, and – I had an amazing time at ALA that reminded me why I love what I do and why I can’t wait to get back to it. Big thanks for that to everyone I saw and networked with at conference, it was the highlight of my year, as ever. But that post can wait for next time, yeah?
The New Mexico Community Foundation has set up a Fire Relief fund for non-profits providing support. http://www.nmcf.org/
Angie, thanks for this!!
Thinking of you and your community, dear. If only thoughts could put out fires… I shall have to practice using The Force.
Hello – I am a Los Alamos native and just found your blog via the Las Conchas coverage and the livefeed from KOAT. What a wonderful blog – I spent many many many hours in that library growing up. Actually, it would have been the old library – on Central Ave. near where Starbucks was last time I was there – I haven’t been to LA for about 6 years now. But I have so many fond hours of snaking along the aisles, choosing books to read, and walking home with a stack. I can’t tell you how happy finding your blog has made me and you sound like a fantastic librarian. YA literature is close to my heart. I taught 7-12 English briefly and LOVED the books. Would love to chat with you about favorite authors sometime. I live in the UK at the moment. My mom made a donation of a globe in honor of her mother – Connie Dorfman (my mom is Addie Fu – also a librarian by training, although she never worked at the Los Alamos Library all the time we lived there). Is the globe still there? I have to run now – would like to come back and linger on your blog in the future. I will comment again – but if you’d like to e-mail a response, please feel free. Also, don’t feel you have to post this comment as in my excitement it has gotten a little rambly and unwieldy. Hoping for rain – like the rest of northern NM – Melissa Fu
While at ALA I kept in touch with my sibs as they watched the Pacheco Fire from our homes there at Nambe. The firefighters were taking water from our lake to fight that one. Thankfully it moved away from Nambe. It isn’t contained either. Our worry is what will happen next with heavy rains coming. A few years ago the fire there burned the forest. Flooding was a huge problem, and the fish in the lake died when all the ash choked out the oxygen in the water. We had a dead lake for a few years.
We’re still watching that fire, and now, too, the one up in Los Alamos. My sister works there. As with the previous fires there, the pueblo communities are at risk. My parents and sibs told me about intense smoke in the Pojoaque Valley and Nambe, and how they’ve had times when burnt twigs and ash fall down like rain.
Glad you posted this! really glad. I’m going to look into the resources you’ve listed and continued to hope/pray that the fire can be contained.