Device may prove valuable for onsite disposal of regrowth on the second swipe through the village

The village of Ruidoso is nearing the time when the wildfire fuel reduction treatments won’t involve cutting large trees, Village Forestry Director Dick Cooke told village councilors recently. Crews will be removing sprouting vegetation and smaller trees that lend themselves to disposal with an air curtain device.

“Ninety-five percent of the village property and 90 percent of the rest” have completed the initially-required treatment, he said. The village will begin going back into Flume Canyon and other canyons next year, recycling some of the sites previously treated, he said. The trees will be 10 feet to 12 feet tall and 2-inches to 3-inches in diameter, he said. The village is considered one of the most at-risk communities for wildfire, because it is surrounded by a national forest and many lots were heavily wooded. A massive village-wide treatment program initiated more than a decade ago aimed to reduce the number of trees and undergrowth.

Village General Services Director Jeff Kaplan said the amount of woody material disposed of this year by delivery to Sierra Contracting is down about 24 percent from averages two to three years ago. He attributed the decline to several factors, saying one of the biggest occurred when the village solid waste and forestry departments began offering mulch and trunk sections free at the site near the dog park at the White Mountain Recreation Complex. That program “has been a phenomenal success,” he said.

The second major impact was the thinning that occurred village-wide and is nearing completion of the first full round.

He recalled that while in Florida, Hurricane Andrew hit and…