On May 31, Evelyn traveled to Grant County to witness firsthand the devastation of the Whitewater-Baldy fire as well as the efforts under way to bring the blaze under control. The largest wildfire in New Mexico's history, it is expected to burn for weeks until weather conditions assist fire fighters. The lightning caused fire resulted in the evacuation of the village of Mogollon along with the loss of at least 12 homes and 13 other structures. Over 200,000 acres have been charred so far. Reasons given for the severity of the fire include years of low precipitation, light snow pack and low humidity combined with dry windy conditions.
Evelyn visited a spike camp near the fire closest to Mogollon where she met with firefighting personnel. Over 250 fire fighters were encamped at this site. Most were out on the fire line, which was visible from the base. Breathing was difficult as thick smoke blanketed the area. Flames were in plain sight on the nearby hillside.
A strong advocate of our National Parks, Monuments and Wilderness areas, Evelyn will fight to protect these precious assets from development and industrial degradation. She supports legislation to form the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument designation. Her opponent's watered-down version gives the appearance of environmental responsibility but leaves the door open for developmental encroachment. Pearce's proposal does not go nearly far enough in protecting the environmentally and historically important areas. Evelyn's will vote to protect these areas so all may enjoy their beauty and meaning for generations.
Evelyn left the fire lines and made a bee-line for Hurley, NM where a meeting of the Grant County Democratic Party was under way. Evelyn was immediately brought up to speak and later answered questions to the full house in the Hurley community center.