Dog Head Fire victims file claim for damages - Albuquerque Journal

Dog Head Fire victims file claim for damages

A year after the Dog Head Fire burned their homes and blackened their land, 23 East Mountains property owners have filed a claim against federal agencies for losses they sustained.

The 18,000-acre, June 2016 fire destroyed 12 homes and forced dozens to evacuate. An October 2016 report on the wildfire found that the blaze started when a masticator, used to shred trees and brush as a way of reducing fire fuel, struck a rock and threw sparks. The three-man team running the machine was unable to stop the fire, which grew out of control and ultimately cost $10 million to suppress.

Attorney Mark Dow, who is representing the claimants, said the agencies involved, including the U.S. Forest Service, have six months to investigate the claims and respond. If they don’t respond within that period of time, Dow said, the claimants can file a federal lawsuit.

In a news release, Dow said the crew running the masticator was contracted to perform fuel reduction work by the Isleta Collaborative Landscape Restoration Project, which included the Forest Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service and other agencies. He said crews working under that project had been thinning the forest for years, leaving behind piles of downed trees and brush that “would quickly dry and pose a major fire hazard if ignited in any manner.”

Dow said the crew working that day was in a “fire prone area” in the middle of New Mexico’s fire season. He said it was unreasonable to take on such an operation when hot, dry and windy temperatures create ideal conditions for destructive fires.

The group he represents lost homes, belongings, cabins, ranches, livestock and property and are still dealing with ongoing flooding and erosion, Dow said.

Home » ABQnews Seeker » Dog Head Fire victims file claim for damages

Insert Question Legislature form in Legis only stories

Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email

taboola desktop

ABQjournal can get you answers in all pages


Questions about the Legislature?
Albuquerque Journal can get you answers
Email addresses are used solely for verification and to speed the verification process for repeat questioners.
Migrants start fire at Mexico detention center, killing 40
ABQnews Seeker
MEXICO CITY (AP) -- Migrants fearing ... MEXICO CITY (AP) -- Migrants fearing deportation set mattresses ablaze at an immigration detention center in northern Mexico, starting a fire that killed at ...
New Mexico court upholds Native American actor convictions
ABQnews Seeker
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) -- The ... SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) -- The New Mexico Court of Appeals has upheld the rape and voyeurism convictions of Native American actor and film ...
David Batista named branch manager with Yellowstone Landscape
ABQnews Seeker
BRIEFCASE: NMSU grad has been with ... BRIEFCASE: NMSU grad has been with the landscape company for 17 years.
New Mexico abortion care: What's happening now and what ...
ABQnews Seeker
When Roe v. Wade was overturned ... When Roe v. Wade was overturned last summer, New Mexico seemed poised to become a destination for those seeking abortion. Here's what's happened since ...
WaFd's Lonnie Corral promoted to senior VP
ABQnews Seeker
BRIEFCASE: Corral will continue to lead ... BRIEFCASE: Corral will continue to lead the nine branches he oversees in southern New Mexico.
La Luz Elementary School students were originally expected to ...
ABQnews Seeker
Originally, the district's plans were to ... Originally, the district's plans were to move students out in 2025. Now, APS wants to do it this fall.
Authorities say a man brought a gun into Flix ...
ABQnews Seeker
If not for the theater's beer ... If not for the theater's beer taps or the man's suspected use of cocaine, the gun-wielding patron who sent Flix Brewhouse employees into a ...
Lobo hoops notebook: Seck to transfer, House returns, Udeze ...
ABQnews Seeker
News and notes around Lobo basketball, ... News and notes around Lobo basketball, including another transferring scholarship player and updates on Morris Udeze and Jaelen House.
Judge: District attorney can't be co-counsel in Baldwin case
ABQnews Seeker
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) -- A ... SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) -- A New Mexico judge said Santa Fe's district attorney shouldn't serve as co-counsel in the manslaughter case against actor ...