Bosque Farms 'gives' tanker to Carson community

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Village of Bosque Farms councilors received applause, several literal thumbs up and proclamations of "good karma" recently after their decision to give a retired fire tanker to a fledgling department in northern New Mexico.

Bosque Farms Fire Chief Spencer Wood told the councilors they had the opportunity to "help a community in need."

The community of Carson lies about 17 miles of Tres Piedras in Taos County, Wood said.

It is the home of about 200 people, and the newly county-approved Carson Volunteer Fire Department. Carson is bordered by the Carson National Forest and Bureau of Land Management lands, Wood said, and can only be described as a rural area.

"The Carson Fire District includes the communities of Starr, Two Peaks and Three Peaks, with a population of approximately 300 people," Wood said. "Of those, only about 150 have power and running water. It's a 35 to 40 minute drive to Ojo Caliente for training."

Wood said of the 16 volunteers with the department, five have completed their first responder training, seven their emergency vehicle training and nine have finished their wildland fire training and received red-card certification, "a very big deal," Wood said.

"They have gotten very extensive training through Ojo Caliente. They have a map of residences and wells and written permission from seven of those residents to use the water," Wood said. "There are two sirens about two miles apart to call for help and they have a phone tree."

The department has radio communication with the Ojo Caliente Fire Department 24 hours a day, seven days a week for the area, but current response times from that department can stretch into 45 minutes to an hour, the chief said.

The Carson area is about 5 miles by 15 miles in area, Wood said, and nearly 50 percent of the population is retired.

"Some are on oxygen, there are a lot of animals and two track roads," he said. "I cannot imagine the undertaking these people are taking to set this up. The state fire marshal is involved, but they have to survive for a year on their own before they are eligible for state fire funds."

Wood said a retired Green Beret colonel is heading up the effort.

"I feel pretty good about the situation being able survive the year," he said. "The effort already put in and fundraising done is incredible. My proposal to you — I think it would be a really neat thing to donate this truck to them."

The 1,000 gallon tanker came to the village from Bernalillo County and the village invested about $3,000 in it for repairs, Wood said.

In the mean time, it has been replaced with "a shiny new truck."

Wood said the Carson department's assets right now consist of two acres of dirt, six sets of bunker gear and a few hand-held radios.

"I propose to you we donate it or sell it for a dollar, whatever the process is, to help them get started," he said.

Councilor Wayne Ake said there might be an issue with the village donating the truck, due to the state's anti-donation clause.

"But we can sell it for a dollar, which is what I will make a motion to do, and I will donate the dollar," Ake said.

Wood said if the council approved the disposal of the tanker, the truck would be transferred to Taos County, the entity that oversees the Carson department.


-- Email the author at jdendinger@news-bulletin.com.