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?