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Behind the Scenes of the Fire: NM Food Banks at Work

July 5, 2011

FARMINGTON, N.M. - While there has been some good news from the fire lines in New Mexico the past two days, the Las Conchas and Donaldson fires are still burning a record number of acres - more than 220,000 acres, according to incident reports filed around midday, July 4. Keeping thousands of firefighters and other workers supplied with food and water is no easy task.

Sara Kaynor, executive director of ECHO, Inc., operates a food bank that supplies most food programs in northern New Mexico. She says they have two warehouses stocked with supplies reserved for natural disasters and other emergencies, and they're on standby.

"That food is actually there as an emergency supply for the government at any time. In fact, with the Cerro Grande fire 11 years ago, they did request a large amount of food to feed the firefighters."

Kaynor says she's also seeing an uptick in donations, as those outside the fire zones want to help, but more help is needed.

"All of the food banks are accepting food, water, dog food, cat food - pet food is another huge issue - and cash contributions."

She says food banks are tapped to help those displaced by the fire, too. That assistance can range from a couple of days to a few months, when a family loses a home or job.

Updated fire information is available at http://www.inciweb.org.

Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - NM