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Hermits Peak fire lit by the US Forest Service burned our house to the ground

 
pollinator
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Yep, you read that correctly. Every thing my Wife and I built and created over the last 24 years is gone. We built our house from the dirt to the roof. Most of the lumber and all the timber came from our property here in northern New Mexico. We made the large planks for windowsills and work benches using our Granberg Alaskan chainsaw mill and it's ash now too. We're making plans to relocate because this once gorgeous area  of New Mexico looks like an atomic bomb went off nearby. They destroyed everything. Our beautifully manicured forest is destroyed too. This year we had the best ground cover we've seen since we bought this property in 1971.
 
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Sorry for your loss.
 
Rick Kruszewski
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I live in Colorado.  Same here why do a controlled burn when winds are in the forecast?
 
master gardener
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I'm so very sorry for your loss, Brian. I've no words...
 
pollinator
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Good god Brian. That's awful, unspeakable, infuriating. I can't imagine how a controlled burn could have gone so horribly wrong.
 
gardener
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Oh no, that's so sad. Stay strong. I hope you can find a safer place and your land will recover one day.
 
pollinator
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That is so hard to hear.
I can't even imagine your pain.
 
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How awful. Words are not enough.
 
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Oh, no! So very sorry for this huge loss for you and your wife.  I've been following this fire closely, as I've backpacked over there the past several summers and find it just stunning.  The loss of homes and wildlife is heartbreaking.
 
pollinator
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That's horrible, my condolences ...is there any hope of legal recourse/recompense?
 
pollinator
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Beyond words devastating.
Up to date reporting here:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calf_Canyon/Hermits_Peak_Fire
 
Brian Rodgers
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Douglas Alpenstock wrote:Good god Brian. That's awful, unspeakable, infuriating. I can't imagine how a controlled burn could have gone so horribly wrong.

Yeah, after the Cerro Grande fire which destroyed the town of Los Alamos lit for the same reason, now they call them "Prescribed burns."  As citizens we need to take the matches away for the US Forest Service. It has been declared a national disaster by uncle Joe. Under the unbearable stress of losing our homebuilt home with a masonry 2600 gallon aquaponics fish pond with five year old Koi, we've frantically filling our forms proving we own the home. That part is done and sent in to FEMA with documentation showing what type of home it was, as it is unrecognizable as a building. Next is personal belongings; family photos, paintings, artwork, furnishings and a brand new jewelry studio which I
I've been using to create hand fabricated (silversmithing) rings, along with a handmade lapidary system I've been using to cut and reshape stones that I've had for 40 years when I began silversmithing. We opened an Etsy shop and sold a few rings already. Etsy Rodgers Rings and Things  I best get back to work.
Thank you all
Love Brian and Nell
 
pollinator
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My heart goes out to you.  We too have suffered loss, although not as bad.  It hurt for a long time, but did get better with time.  Hang in there, it will get better!
 
pollinator
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Location: Oklahoma Panhandle
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Brian,
I'm so sorry to hear of your loss!  I've always followed your posts and you've definitely been one of my favorites.  I was through your area a couple of times in the last few months and I can't begin to imagine what it is like now.  I wish nothing but the best for you.
 
Brian Rodgers
pollinator
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Thank you Bryan and everyone. This has been a rough couple of years, coping with bladder cancer and having a neobladder created. Light was shining at the end of the tunnel. We still see the light. In one regard there are so many little issues after having lived in the house we built over the last twenty + years, that I don't have hanging over my head any longer. Don't need to replace the water heater or repair the 800 feet of driveway, etc. Smiles

We are looking at a house in Santa Rosa New Mexico where water is abundant, including a large lake in the middle of town and  Blue Hole  where I could learn to scuba dive right there in the middle of the desert, lol! Gardening will be much easier with all the water as there are many springs throughout town. It is said the Blue hole extends all the way to Carlsbad Caverns. We'll miss our attached greenhouse/ pond room as it provided  food year round and was unheated.  

This new house has already been remodeled. At 68 and 69 my wife and I do not have another house build left in us. Sunshine in Santa Rosa is abundant, Nell's son who is helping us secure the house is an electrician and we're talking about  building a post and beam structure to setup a grid tied PV array to charge the used electric car we'll purchase if FEMA comes through. Albuquerque is around a 100 miles which is in the range of most of the inexpensive EVs we're seen on craigslist. One of the big issues with Las Vegas (12 miles south of the ranch) is a food desert situation. My diet is quite extreme after finally learning what was causing the debilitating joint inflammation that put me down for the better part of three years. This was when I did research into permaculture and met all you wonderful folks.

Once I got better I went back to work as a rural/mountain Wireless internet installer for a couple years. This is why I was absent from here. Then of course COVID 19 hit. I stayed working when most took leaves. It turned out the I had the greatest sonority by ten years over the rest of the crew and COVID bonuses rewarded us well. We setup our house with a mini-split air conditioner and heat pump, so after 50 years living on the ranch I no longer needed to build a fire in the wood heater in the morning. What a blessing that was!

Okay I better get back to work with Nell of the second part of FEMA assistance. After rereading the list of stuff they'll compensate us for a Jewelry studio isn't included, sigh. There is a class action lawsuit developing and we'll get in on that to recover losses like tools, all of the vintage and high  quality hand tools were on the back porch as I was already working on a new much larger garden starting this year.  How does one value an eye hoe with a custom cut hickory handle?
I took extraordinary care of my hand tools and of course as we replace tools they'll continue to get that level of attention.  
Much love,
Brian Rodgers  
 
pollinator
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Praying for you and Nell as you move forward with your lives after this tragedy, Brian. So sad for you and all you lost.
 
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I'm so sorry you're going through this, I'll be praying for you!
 
Brian Rodgers
pollinator
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Pete Podurgiel wrote:That's horrible, my condolences ...is there any hope of legal recourse/recompense?


I had finally gotten to the point spiritually where I was not going to worry about the direction the government was heading as long as they stayed out of my face, doh! Yes FEMA is here, apparently they aren't concerned with restoring our belongings per se, just the basic necessities. I imagine there are class action lawsuits brewing as we speak. Besides all the regular citizens homes lost to fire a large country club golf course community burned.
 
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Do not envy you trying to get your belongings replaced...

Many years ago, i was given a micro- stereo, 6 inches square, and abot 12 inches high.  Since i was doing a complete renovation at the time,  i built a custom made nook into my wall, and wired speakers to every corner of every room complete with zone switches.  In the shower and want to listen to some tunes ? Flip a switch and your good.  Living room kitchen or bedroom ? Same thing.
Nearby lightning hit fried the stereo ( 1,100 $ unit to replace ) was sent a check for 300 $ and was told " you can buy a regular replacement stereo with that amount.
Forget about a regular stereo fitting into the custom made nook in my house, or all the concealed wiring that went with it.  Sorry for your loss, but thats all your getting.

Class action lawsuit is the only alternative.
 
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Brian, it's just unthinkable, and am so , so sorry for your loss.

But this goes beyond FEMA.  This is not a natural disaster.  You should not have to pay a cent for what they did to you.  I hope you will consult an attorney who does this sort of work and sue the Forest Service.    A consultation with an attorney should not cost anything.  An attorney who takes the case will take his cut out of the winnings or settlement of the case.  

Are there videos, pictures, news articles, everything you can get to show that the Forest Service got out of control?  Any neighbors who also suffered the same kind of loss from the same cause who might go in on it with you?  

Even if you are going to move, you should be reimbursed for your physical losses, pain and suffering.  There is often a limit on how long you can wait to file such a lawsuit, and the sooner the better.

:-)
 
Cristo Balete
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Brian, just heard on the news Biden says the government is going to take responsibility for the damage that fire did.  Just a couple of things, which people probably know, but be very suspicious of anyone who contacts you offering to "help" you out, whether it be lawyers or contractors, movers, or anyone else.  Once they know there is government money involved, con artists start swarming, social media goes nuts, most of the info out there is not reliable. Double check the technical From: and To: headers on all emails.  If it's a mass emailing, beware.  Scammers can make emails look like they are legit.  

You do the contacting from your own research.

It wouldn't hurt to pay for a half hour phone consult with an attorney anywhere in the country who does this kind of work with the gov. about your rights, (not a gov. attorney, of course,) whether you can negotiate about what they are offering.  Calculate your property value, pain and suffering and costs to move, and see if you're okay with that.
 
Cristo Balete
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You might want to set up an online email at one of the free sites where you only correspond with the gov., and any other official people you are in touch with about getting this settled.  That way the scammers won't get your email, or shouldn't, anyway.
 
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