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Tens of Thousands Facing Evacuations in New Mexico

Workers at the Santa Fe Animal Shelter and Humane Society scurried this week to make room for displaced pets. Other local organizations are taking donations of money, food, clothes and hygiene products for those in need.

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(TNS) - Staff and volunteers with Santa Fe-based The Food Depot focused their second annual Star Wars-themed May the Fourth food drive on filling the needs of wildfire evacuees.

Workers at the Santa Fe Animal Shelter & Humane Society scurried this week to make room for displaced pets.

Other local organizations are taking donations of money, food, clothes and hygiene products to distribute to those in need.

"While this is a light-hearted and fun event that we are happy to host once again," Food Depot Executive Director Sherry Hooper said in a statement about Wednesday's food drive. "We are well aware of the serious events happening around us with our fellow New Mexicans."

With tens of thousands of people from an estimated 15,500 homes on mandatory evacuation orders due to the growing Hermits Peak and Calf Canyon Fire — a more than 160,000-acre blaze stretching between Las Vegas, N.M., and Mora — local organizations are increasing efforts to ensure people and animals who fled their homes have the resources they need.

The New Mexico Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management also announced Wednesday it is leading an effort with several state agencies to establish a Joint Information Task Force to provide consolidated information on wildfires and aid available to affected residents.

The effort includes a wildfire website,, with a link to a disaster assistance form, and Facebook page,

The state Office of the Superintendent of Insurance advised residents at risk of evacuation to keep important documents such as birth certificates, insurance policies and health insurance cards in fireproof boxes and to take photos of each document. Residents also should include a list of medications and a week's supply in the box, the office said.

After an evacuation or news of home damage, the office said, a homeowner should contact their insurance carrier to file a claim. Some insurance policies pay for additional living expenses during an evacuation.

Many evacuees have sought assistance for pets that couldn't join them at a shelter or relative's home.

Murad Kirdar, a spokesman for the Santa Fe animal shelter, said volunteers recently transferred animals to sites in Utah and Albuquerque to make room for at least two dozen cats that evacuated along with their owners amid the wildfire.

The shelter is at capacity and doesn't have room to take in more dogs, he added, but it's still able to make accommodations for displaced felines.

The shelter also is working to provide evacuees with pet essentials.

"We're offering free dog and cat food, treats, cat litter, blankets, towels [and] candles. So if anyone has extra at home, we encourage them to donate it," Kirdar said.

How to get help

Evacuation shelters:

* Old Memorial Middle School gym in Las Vegas; call 505-429-0336.

* Glorieta Adventure Camps; contact Josh Nelson at 505-757-6161, ext. 713.

* San Miguel County Public Works in Las Vegas; call 505-652-8728.

* Peñasco High School gym, contact Melissa Sandoval at 575-779-3057.

* Red River Convention Center; call 575-754-1708.

Pet and livestock shelters:

* The Santa Fe Animal Shelter & Humane Society is taking in cats displaced by the fire; call 505-983-4309, ext. 1606. The shelter also is offering supplies for displaced pets and requests donations.

* The Santa Fe County Fairgrounds is taking in dogs, cats and chickens; call 505-471-4711.

* The Zamora arena is being used to temporarily house livestock and horses; contact livestock inspector Matthew Romero at 575-643-6805.

* The Pecos arena is sheltering livestock and horses; contact Freddy Lujan at 505-930-3986 or 505-757-3986.

* The Taos County Sheriff's Posse Arena is being used to house livestock and horses; contact livestock inspector Ruben Baca at 575-770-1490.

Where to donate

* The Santa Fe Fire Department's Station 5, 1130 Siler Road, is accepting donations of food and supplies between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays. Items requested: nonperishable foods, sports drinks, children's clothing and toys, diapers, personal hygiene items and paper products, as well as animal feed, troughs, hay, bowls and crates.

* The All Together New Mexico Fund is accepting monetary donations at Grants from the fund will go to emergency shelters, food and water distribution and access to medical support.

* The State Employees Credit Union is accepting monetary donations that will go to the "Northern NM Fires" fund. The credit union also is accepting nonperishable food items, bottled water, new and unused blankets, clothing and hygiene products.

* Santa Fe Habitat for Humanity is accepting goods at the ReStore, 2520 Camino Entrada. Requested items: nonperishable food, hygiene products, cleaning products, feminine products, clothes, diapers and baby food.

The Food Depot Disaster Relief Fund is accepting money, food, water and hygiene items for evacuees and emergency responders. Visit


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