Fire Mitigation

Most Recent Report:


1. TRLA successfully completed thinning of 10 acres of commons adjacent to Yucca Dr. and was reimbursed for approximately 70% of the cost. Hop Canyon did the work over a 2-week period in early November which included chipping of the slash.  A number of landowners were able to pick up firewood after the contractor had completed the work.

2. The state forestry is offering to let us again use the FHI grant for 20 acres of commons this year, continuing on from the section of the commons behind the lots on cottonwood loop and Aspen loop which will cost about $1500 per acre. This will be to create a heavy thinning of an approximately 100 foot wide strip between landowner properties and the Cibola National forest. The area of the commons beyond the 100 feet would be a medium thinning with the slash being chipped instead of being hauled to the burn pile. The work would take place in the fall so this money would need to be available in next year’s budget.

3. 1 TRLA lot owner has completed thinning of their lot using the states FHI program. Two more landowners should get approved to participate in the grant program this year. The FHI grant money is limited so the state is only able to offer this to a small number of landowners in TRLA each year.

4. The wildfire committee supports the intention of the common lands as a healthy wild forest for hikers and horse riders of Timberlake. We recommend using the New Mexico state forest management plan written specifically for Timberlake subdivision, and using only authorized and insured tree cutters who can administer the plan that TRLA purchased, to cut and remove trees under the supervision of state foresters. The plan was written to preserve the health and safety of the forest including animal habitat. We do not recommend unauthorized vehicles as they are damaging to the forest. We hope the board can create and publish a policy to protect the health and beauty of the common land, for all of Timberlake.

5. The committee may also need a small amount of money for a mailing to landowners if we are able to get more grant money for lot wildfire mitigation. This would be targeted to landowners that have high-density forests on their lots.

6. It might be good to post the Timberlake Subdivision Stewardship Plan to the TRLA website where it would be available to anyone who would like to read it.

1.    Mission Statement


Timberlake subdivision is designated as at a very high risk of a devastating crown wildfire because of unhealthy and overgrown forests.  We will continually research and recommend interventions that decrease the risk of a wildfire in the Timberlake subdivision.  Through Forest Health education and institution of specific projects  Wildfire Mitigation is an intrinsic part of the duties and responsibilities of every landowner and of the TRLA Board of Directors.

2.    Firewise Your Home/Property


Remember to Firewise your homes and properties. View the Firewise Training Flyer.

Whether one has an established home or are planning to build please learn how to prepare your home for wildfires through Firewise practices.

1. Read the literature distributed by Firewise USA:

The pamphlet entitled “Prepare Your Home for Wildfires” is free and copies are available in the Library at the Ranch House.

2. Remember a driveway entrance should be 18-22 feet wide and the driveway itself should be at least 12 feet wide – with 15 feet vertical clearance. (For point of reference a standard highway lane is 12 feet wide).

3. Ensure there is adequate room to turn a fire engine around near your home so that the fire truck can easily exit.  If the crew determines that they cannot safely exit your property in the event of a wildfire they will not enter the property to fight the fire.

Contact one of the following Fire Mitigation Sub-Committee members if you have any questions:

Ron & Rachel Schali – 1-505-488-0556, &

3.    Alerts

July 24, 2019

Dear TRLA landowners:

The Wildfire Mitigation project is moving forward rapidly, with roadside clearing of ladder fuels already underway.

The next phase is to find resources to start reducing our huge wildfire fuel loads and improve the health of the forest throughout the 7000 acre Ranch. Major sources of potential funds are Federally-funded Healthy Forest cost-sharing programs administered by the State. A requirement to access these and other funds is the development of an Association-wide Management Plan for TRLA. This plan will address factors affecting forest health such as timber, vegetation, undergrowth, animal species, water, bark beetles and other potential causes of unhealthy forests. This plan must be submitted to the State by September for consideration of current funds. It requires a visual survey of the entire Ranch, including a walk-through  of approximately 500 lots, by a State-contracted Forester. The Plan will be prepared by the Forester, is comprehensive and will be several hundred pages. The Association cost of approximately $3500 has been approved by the Board.

Time is of the essence as the deadline for submission is early September. The Forester, Tom Marks, will begin his survey the week of August 5th. A major part of the survey is the lot walk-through.  He will be accompanied by members of the Mitigation Sub-committee and the Board. We are asking all landowners to cooperate with this crucial survey. If you do not want Mr. Marks to go onto your lot please contact Mary Jo Wallen directly at (505) 269-5022 by voice or text, or by email at If there is a locked gate or unrestrained dog the lot will not be entered.

It will take all of us working together to improve our forest health and protect Timberlake from a fate such as that of Paradise CA. All of us will benefit from reducing the high risk of fire and/or beetle infestation we currently face.

Sincerely,TRLA Wildfire Mitigation Committee.


Video About how one community’s actions to prepare for Wildfire stopped the 416 Fire

4.    Grants Applications/Other Forms

Home Hazard Assessment Worksheet

    Worksheet Guide

New Mexico Forest Health Initiative - Landowner Application

5     Links to Internet Resources

News link for Fire Adapted Communities New Mexico website is  Weekly news items are posted. Under News & Events, click on Wildfire Wednesday #5 and then scroll down to FACNM Leader Profile to read about Ron Schali.


Ponderosa Pine (file hosted on TRNEWS web site)

Read the literature distributed by Firewise USA:

2018 draft of McKinley County CSPP (Community Wildfire Protection Plan)

After the Fire: Low Cost Flooding and Erosion Mitigation Strategies

Grants links

6.    Vendor Lists


1. Ramah Navajo Forestry, Michael Henio, 1-505-775-7123, or 1-505-259-4538.

2. Allen Fire LLC, 150 Gonzales Road, Edgewood, NM 87015, 1-505-281-4313

   3. All Around Forestry, Albuquerque, Lawrence Jaramillo - 1-505-221-9771, or Josh Melendrez - 1-505-803-0623, Also, certified fire fighters for the State. Several landowners have contracted with them for FHI grant work during the spring, 2020.


The Fire Mitigation Sub-Committee has put together this list of landowners or outside professional companies who can help you with deciding the best way to protect your home and property.  The Sub-Committee, the Timberlake Board\Organization are in no way recommending that you use these resources.  It is your responsibility to ensure that they are property licensed, etc.  

1. Ray Martin, Martin’s Wood Services-Forestry, Landscaping & Land Clearing, Grants, NM 87020, 1-505-287-1402, or 1-505-240-4957, 107 El Saguan Loop, Grants, NM 87020 ( A landowner)

2. Tom Brewer, Rocky Mt. Fire & Forestry, 1-928-368-3123, Community Firewise Assessor and Forest Manager in Snowflake, AZ., 2111 W. Ridge Road, Snowflake, AZ 85937, 30+ years’ experience

3. Holiday Nursery, 1214 E. Aztec Avenue, Gallup, NM 87301, John Kilgore, owner, 1-505-863-5791.

4. Mike Lipka (landowner) 1-505-783-4085, tree dropping, cleaning, maintenance and chainsaw safety. 32 years’ experience in wildland fire management.

Stephen and JoAnn Green (landowner), 1-505-209-0609, or 1-505-783-0185, drop trees, remove stumps, chipping, hauling,

7.    Sub-Committee Reports


1. Grant opportunities are still on hold.  We are hopeful grants will be available in the fall.

2. 2021-2022 Budget – since we have not been able to get a grant this spring, we are still requesting that the $15,000 that was left over from last year be carried over into the next budget as a line item in the contingency funds.  In the normal forest/fire budget we want to use the funds for mailings to new landowners, ordering more brochures if necessary and other educational opportunities.  When will the Committee find out what the new budget will be?  If it is determined that more thinning needs to be done on side roads, is money available thru the Fire budget, or the Commons?

3. Ray Martins finished trimming on Fox and took slash to the burn pile.

4. Notified Don Oulette that there are overhanding limbs on parts of Yucca, Cottonwood, and Aspen.

5. Todd Haines, Forest Service and Yolynda Begay, Mt. Taylor District Ranger, will be invisted to the Annual Meeting.  Yolynda would be able to provide an update on the fuel break project that we requested for the east side of Timberlake.  It is our understanding that the project is going to be funded in the near future.

6. We would like to reserve the table in the library for the annual meeting for our forest health & fire safety materials as well as emergency information.

7. We need a drawer in the Office to keep our Committee materials.

8. Once the new year begins Ron would like to talk to the new Communications Committee person and Wayne Ramm about a new link on the website that would include articles on forest health and fire safety.  Julie Farrell should also represent the Volunteer Fire Dept.  We feel that the link needs to be easier for landowners, especially all the new landowners, to find quick answers to their questions (ie: width of driveways, defensible space zones around homes, etc).

9. If anyone would like to volunteer to take my place on the Committee, please contact Ron or Rachel Schali at or


1. Grant opportunities –  Todd Haines just told Ron that funds in the spring are not going to be available, so hopefully, we can get something in the fall pertaining to FHI grants for landowners as well as for the 80-acre Common Land project. Todd has to spread funds around the entire State.

2. We applied for the $500 State Farm grant again this spring.  However, we were denied.  CA received 42% of the grants which is not surprising because of the number and severity of their fires.  Oregon received 15% and Colorado received 12%.  24 States received funding.

3. Budget request for next year = $5,000 for normal thinning on side roads including overhanging areas.  In order to complete the 80-acre project, we are requesting that the Board continue to provide at least $15,000 a year from funds leftover at the end of each year until the project is complete.  We are also requesting that the $15,000 that we won’t be able to use with a grant this year, can be carried over and held in the contingency fund account.

4. Yolynda Begay, Mt. Taylor District Ranger notified Mary Jo that there were four types of buffer zones that we could consider on the 80-acre project.  The first three are not applicable (1/2mile away, closest road, drainage, or ridge line).  We agreed that 15-20’ from the map that Clay Benton will provide should work.  She suggested that instead of the Avenza software, that Clay use the Onyx software, which is for hunters, so they do not go on private property.

5. Yolynda Begay also indicated that they are talking with the State on restoration projects and that Timberlake is on the agenda.  A CE (Categorical Exclusion) will be provided to comply with NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) regs.  A CE is the lowest level of analysis and also means that there is no significant effect on the human environment.  Neither an environmental assessment nor an environmental impact statement is required.  The fact that we provided the Forest Stewardship Plan was a great benefit. Talks should begin this summer.  This concerns our request for a fuel break on the eastern boundary of Timberlake and the Forest.  I invited Yolynda to the Annual Meeting assuming it is held this year.

6. NMSU (New Mexico State University is sponsoring four zoom meetings during March – Learning to Live with Fire. Notices were put on the website and the FB page.

Ray Martins plans to finish trimming on Fox next week if weather permits.


1. Grant opportunities – we have researched several opportunities and the best one seems to be the FHI to begin the Commons mitigation.  The Committee had a zoom meeting with Clay Benton on 1/26/2021.  We will start talking to contractors about submitting bids after we get the final prescription from Clay Benton.  Todd Haines and Clay Benton recently gave us a list of seven more vendors to consider.

2. Chipper Day was held on 11/12/2020.  Ramah Navajo crew ended up sending out three trucks/trailers with 9 guys to pick up all the brush on the 4 landowner lots that were scheduled for the day’s work.  Their chipper broke down.  All landowners were happy with the work that was done.

3. Mary Jo spoke to Yolynda Begay, Mt. Taylor District Ranger on 2/5/2021.  Yolynda hopes to hear back in either March or June about the viability of the fuel break project on north/east side of Timberlake.  She also requested that a surveyor come out to mark the boundaries on the west side of Timberlake before we begin mitigation on the 80-acres of Common Land.  However, we are third in line.  As an alternative Clay Benton can provide maps with the Avenza program for the contractors to use.  Since it might not be exact, we are waiting to hear back from Yolynda as to a buffer zone that we should use (possibly 15’).

4. Mary Jo participated in two webinars. A FAC Leader meeting was held on 12/2/2020 with seven participants.  We discussed current problems (like our failure to obtain a fiscal agent for the AIM grant), Vision and Goals for the Leaders, Schedule for bi-monthly calls.  As a result of the meeting Larry Winn, Soil and Water Conservation District, was contacted about a Wildland Urban Interface grant for the Commons area.  A subsequent phone call with Todd Haines, NM Forestry, determined that when funds are available and program available, it would be for the 2022 timeframe.  A prescribed burn webinar was held on 12/10/2020.  OK has 21 community associations that started back in 1997 with training and approval provided by local fire districts.  Other active groups are in Nebraska, Colorado, North Carolina, Bay area of California and Nevada.  They have burned 5 acre parcels up to 20,000-acre parcels.  Positive feedback takes a couple of years before people begin to look at the opportunities that prescribed burn programs provide.

5. Of the seven landowners who applied for FHI grants last fall, two landowners backed out, one was not approved because the lot was already in good shape, work has been completed on one lot and two landowners are doing the work themselves and one landowner has not decided to proceed yet but appears to be interested in pursuing this spring/summer.

6. Mitigation Workshops -  when we sent out the survey last summer 22 landowners expressed an interest in attending workshops on topics such as chainsaw safety, thinning and forest health, creating defensive space zones.  Because of COVID we will continue to keep on hold until the Forest Service Guild or State Forestry is able to provide assistance.

7. The survey also indicated that 30 landowners were interested in grants.  We are in the process of contacting these landowners so that we can provide the information to State Forestry when FHI grants are available again.

8. Ray Martins has been contacted about completing the work on Fox sometime this spring.

9. Link to a NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) FB event concerning lowering community wildfire risk was put on the TRLA website and FB page.  Event is at noon on 2/23/2021.

10. Mitigation articles will be sent to Nancy Ramm by the end of the month for the March newsletter.


1. AIM-application – we did not submit another application since we could not get a fiscal agent to work with us.  Ramah Navajo charges 70%, which is extreme when compared to the 5% that the Council of Governments previously quoted.  We are researching other grant opportunities (ie: FHI might be possible) that should be released in January or February 2021.

2.  Chipper Day is scheduled for November although Mike Henio still has not given me an exact date.   We have four people signed up.  If the Ramah Navajo crew would have time leftover, we will have them chip some of the brush under the power lines that has been piled up for several years.  1 ½ to 2 hours will be allotted at each location.

3. Articles will be prepared for the next Timberlake newsletter.


1. AIM-application – found out that Santa Fe is #12 on a list of most at risk communities in the West so we are assuming that the groups in Santa Fe probably got approved.  Prescribed burns are the greatest tool the Forest Service uses to protect forests.  Had it not been for a previous prescribed burn, the recent fire close to the Santa Fe Ski Basin area would have spread to that area.   

a. On 9/17 we are attending a webinar about the AIM Fall 2020 grant application. Deadline to submit another application is October 8, 2020.

2. Ray Martins finished trimming ladder fuels on Roadrunner and Fox. except at the end of Roadrunner where a landowner asked that he not trim along his lot for privacy reasons.  

3. Survey results: Only one more survey was received since last month’s report., so there was a total of 67 surveys received. We have responded to all landowners who had specific questions on the survey.  Burn pile usage should double over last year, which is a positive thing.  We will keep a list of landowners who want grant and risk assessments and will contact them when available next year.  Next spring/summer we will also determine what workshops can be held.  Defensive zone training and chainsaw training were the top two requested.

4.  Chipper Day is still on hold because of COVID-19.  Mike Henio, Ramah Navajo is not returning messages.  We will investigate other options if we do not hear back from him.


1. AIM-application to begin mitigation on the 80 acres of Common Land was not approved.  Three primary reasons were: (1) wildfire risk in our area was considered low in comparison to other areas in NM. (2) Concern over relatively few number of people that would benefit from the fuel reduction treatment (3) Concern over whether the project was helping to build the capacity of the fire department and/or county or whether the proposal was coming more from the HOA.

a. We intend to research what other areas in the State are considered at higher risk than Timberlake since the CWPP’s for both McKinley & Cibola indicate we are at extremely high risk.

b. We will pursue other grants that become available.  If nothing is approved by next March, we would like to go ahead and start mitigation in the Commons with the $15,000 that was approved by the Board.

2. Clay Benton, Forest Service, surveyed two more properties on 7/21.  One lot did not qualify.  We are waiting to hear which properties will be approved.  

3. Ron will talk to Ray Martins about thinning another mile of side roads (Fox and Roadrunner).

4. Survey results: See attached worksheet with results with grand totals on the last two pages.   We will respond to all landowners who have a specific question.  In the next month we will review all comments and come up with specific suggestions, ie: setting up workshops since 21 people expressed an interest.  We encourage the Board to review all the comments and suggestions.  We are pleased with getting 66 responses indicating there is interest in mitigation, workshops,    etc.  An article will be prepared for the fall newsletter.

5.  Chipper Day is still on hold because of COVID-19.


1. AIM Pre-application to begin mitigation on the 80 acres of Common Land was approved.  The competitive application was submitted on 7/17.  Rich Austin, District Fire Chief for McKinley County has agreed to collaborate.  Fiscal agent will be the Northwest New Mexico Council of Governments.

2. Clay Benton, Forest Service, came out on 7/14 & 7/15 and surveyed seven properties for FHI grants (Forest Health Initiative).  Two more will be done on 7/21.  Prescriptions will be prepared and then landowners can decide if they want to pursue mitigation.  As of today, we do not know how much funding will be available, but lots must have visible infestation to be considered.

3. Clay Benton also walked the Commons area between Aspen & Yucca and his prescription is attached to this report. (Document name is Commons_Thinning_Clay.docx).

4. Ray Martin completed ladder fuel thinning on Pine Tree and Sagebrush in June.  We intend to wait on the rest of the project.  From the $5,000 in the budget we already spent $963.31 for printing and mailing out the brochures.  If the AIM grant is approved, we will need to pay the fiscal agent a 4% fee ($1,230 + gross receipts tax if applicable).  The balance would be used for ladder fuel thinning on the sideroads.

5. The two-page brochure and survey were sent out to all landowners and to key Forest/Fire personnel in Cibola & McKinley Counties.

6. Mitigation articles were included in the July TRLA newsletter and Code Red and webinar information has been posted on the Timberlake Ranch FB and TRLA website.

7. Ron and Mary Jo met with Robert Kuipers, Northwest New Mexico Council of Governments about the AIM grant.  He also gave us a Project Feasibility Form to address the BIA road maintenance problems.  He works on a lot of infrastructure projects for both counties and was optimistic in being able to provide us some assistance, which we will pursue in the next few weeks.

8.  Chipper Day is still on hold because of COVID-19.


Contractors shall selectively thin pinyon pine, Juniper, and ponderosa pine. Tree selection shall be centered on second tier intermediate ladder fuels to prevent crown fire in ponderosa pine. Contractors shall thin all understory trees occurring within drip line of Ponderosa pine. Residual basal area shall achieve an average of 50-70 square feet per acre occasionally extending to clumps of only ponderosa pine, clumps of juniper and pinyon shall not occur.


Slash may be treated by one of three methods: Lop and scatter, chip, or piled in a central location. Landowner shall have final say on what method of slash disposal is to be used. For the purpose of this prescription slash will be defined as and woody material less than 4” diameter.

Chip: chipping shall be the main method of slash disposal; contractors may choose to chip on greater than 20% slopes with approval from landowner. All chips shall be less than 2” in depth in any given location. All chips shall be pulled back outside the drip line of all ‘leave’ trees. Chips shall not be spread into or under leave trees.

Haul and pile: selective slash shall be hauled and piled to a central location at Timberlake Subdivision. Contractors shall not be responsible for burning centralized slash.

Lop and Scatter: Contractors may lop and scatter slash on greater 20% slopes with prior approval from landowner. When scattering slash shall be withing 12”-18” occasional extending to 24”, slash shall not exceed 24”.  Slash shall be pulled back outside drip line from all ‘leave’ trees. Contractors shall not be responsible for broadcast burning slash.

Project manager will predetermine units of slash treatment and work with contractors to implement slash management.


For the purpose of this prescription firewood shall be defined as any bole of wood greater than 4” in diameter. Contractors shall stack firewood outside dripline of ‘leave’ trees, in full sunlight, and in no larger than one cord stacks. Firewood shall be left on project site unless project manager approves another location.


Contractors shall target encroaching understory fuels for preventative wildfire measure. All ladder fuel pinyon and juniper shall be removed. Thick stands of ponderosa pine shall be thinned to meet average basal area with occasional clumps. Contractors may choose to thin any species to meet basal area after ladder fuels are reduced. Implementation should consider health and vigor of leave trees. Poor form trees, infested or diseased, and genetic forked trees shall be thinned prior to good form trees to meet basal average. Contractors should attempt to leave a variable size class of all leave species to diversify age class within the stand.  Any ponderosa extending over 24” in diameter shall be left unless extenuating circumstances determine otherwise. Project manager shall be notified and have final decision on falling 24”+ diameter trees. Contractors shall strive to leave a majestic tree of any species. Majestic trees shall be defined as: any tree with noticeably greater diameter than that of the same species around it. Contractors shall strive to leave 2-4 snags per acre.


1. Chipper Day has still not been rescheduled because of COVID-19.

2. Ray Martin should complete the ½ mile of sideroads that he is presently working on by next weekend (Sagebrush).

3. A total of 12 landowners have expressed an interest in the FHI (Forest Health Initiative) grants that should become available again in August/September.  Clay Benton should start assessing property in July.  New forest guidelines have been put into effect: there must be visible infestation of some sort (ie: bark beetle, dwarf mistletoe).  Each project is limited to 10 acres.

4. Tom Marks, Consulting Forester, spoke with the Mt. Taylor District Ranger about our request for a fuel break on the Northeastern wildland urban interface boundary between the Cibola National Forest and Timberlake.  He indicated the conversation was optimistic and our request should be added to the Forest Service’s Schedule of Actions.

5. We prepared a two-page brochure and a survey to distribute to all landowners.  The survey can be filled out on-line.  The following information is included: Emergency numbers, Preparing for Fire, Building a Defensible Space, Forest Stewardship Plan Recommendations, Where We are & Where We’re Going (projects completed and in process), Resource Links and State and Local Venders who can perform mitigation tasks.  A quote from Butler’s for printing of 600 copies is $575.95.  Postage would be $308.00.  Total is $883.95.

6. We prepared an application for a 50/50 fuel reduction program grant thru an organization out of Colorado (Action, Implementation & Mitigation (AIM) Program) to begin work on the 80 acres of Common Land.  Timberlake could not directly apply for the grant.  The Forest Stewards Guild agreed to be the fiscal agent after McKinley County denied our request since they are short staffed because of COVID-19 and the short time frame.  


1. Obtaining bids from Ray Martin’s Wood Services and All Around Forestry for the completion of the side road ladder fuel project which is approximately 3 miles (map is available to the Board) as well as the Commons area.  

2. We verified with Steve Stevens  that there is $2,306 left in this year’s mitigation budget, so Ray Martin has said he would be able to do that amount of road clean-up before the end of this fiscal year.

3. Home Hazard Assessment Worksheet from the Forest Stewards Guild was provided to the Board for the Welcome packet.  This form provides a lot of helpful information, ie: width of driveway entrance for fire trucks, site and structure hazards.  Also posted on TRLA website under Fire Mitigation and will be provided as handouts whenever landowner meetings are opened up.

4. Notice concerning the Home Ignition Zone Webinar for May 12th was posted on the Timberlake Ranch website, FB site and the Timberlake newsletter.  Key points will be included in the next newsletter.

5. Follow-up conversation with Yolynda Begay, Acting District Mt. Taylor Ranger, was conducted on April  10th.  She asked that I provide her with a copy of the Forest Stewardship Plan and a map that shows the urban wildland interface (ie: Timberlake/Forest boundary) where we would like a fuel break.  GPS information for all homes close to this area were also included on April 11th.  Tom Marks will speak to her on our behalf concerning the importance of this project in the next week or so.

6. Nine Timberlake landowners filled out the CWPP survey.  Forest Guild complimented us on our participation.  

7. FAC (Fire Adapted Community Leader) profile for Ron Schali was posted on the Forest Stewards Guild website, our website, and the Timberlake FB site.  A primary responsibility of an FAC Leader is to share resources/success stories with other members/leaders around the State to help reduce wildfire risk.

8. Renewed annual membership with the Forest Stewards Guild (good thru 6/2021).

9. Work was completed May 16th on three FHI grants that were approved last fall.

10. Two more landowner FHI applications were submitted to the Forest Service Guild on May 19th. Total that will be under consideration whenever grant funds are available again are 11.  Clay Benton, Forest Service, will try to start assessments in July.

11. We are going to prepare an educational packet for all landowners with information on forest health, fire mitigation, defensible space, contractor information, home hazard assessment worksheet, etc. (by June Board meeting).

12. We also are working on ideas to get more landowner involvement (by June Board meeting).


1. State Farm Grant/Wildfire Preparedness Day

a. $500 Grant check was received.  Because of the coronavirus, the May 2nd Chipper Day will most likely be deferred to a later date.  A notice will be put on the website.

2. Mitigation was recently performed on two lots that received FHI approval last fall.  The chipping part of the projects should be performed in May.  

3. Ron Schali participated in a Leader Profile Blog with the Forest Stewards Guild on April 15th.

4. Letter was sent to Yolynda Begay, Acting Mount Taylor District Ranger on April 14th.  On behalf of the Timberlake community we requested that a fuel break project along the Northeastern wildland urban interface boundary between the Cibola National Forest and the Timberlake Ranch subdivision be added to the U.S. Forest Service’s Schedule of Proposed Actions.   

Respectfully submitted by the Forest Restoration & Wildfire Mitigation Sub-Committee.


1. Grants - Approved

a. State Farm grant of $500 was approved.  Ramah Navajo Forestry will work from 9:30 to 4 p.m. on May 2nd, Wildfire Preparedness Day with their chipper. Education part of the schedule for that day will be determined after we have the chipper schedule set.

2. Potential Matching Grants that require a commitment from the Board.

a. NM Counties Grant – grants up to $15,000 with a 10% cost share ($1,500) from Timberlake.  Before we can apply, we need to know what the Board will approve for working on Commons.  Missed deadline for this year.

b. EMNRD -  Energy Minerals & Natural Resources Dept. – hazardous fuel treatment project – grants up to $75,000  with a 50% in kind or cost share project ($37,500) – approximately 25% of grants go to new projects. Again, missed deadline for this year and we need to know what the Board will approve for the 2020-2021 budget.

3. Forest Service Guild Risk Assessments – haven’t been notified as to how many will be available this year.  We did submit the four new ones and waiting on one landowner to submit his application.

4. Newsletter articles – submitted for the March newsletter and have included on the website.

We appreciate the Board’s consideration to support the Forest Restoration and Fire Mitigation projects that are needed in order to help protect our community from forest fires.

Respectfully submitted by the Forest Restoration & Wildfire Mitigation Sub-Committee - End of report.

Timberlake Subdivision Forestry Management Plan Recommendations

Developing a Management Plan - The Timberlake Ranch Subdivision should consider a multi-year plan with the objectives of lessening fire risks by considering the implementation of the following resource management recommendations:  

1. Management Recommendation, Partnerships – The Timberlake Ranch Subdivision should consider entering into a partnership with NM State Forestry and the USDA Forest Service to propose a project to improve wildlife habitat and forest health within the acres of ponderosa pine, mountain meadow, and pinyon-juniper forest communities through thinning and prescribe burning on National Forest Lands common to the Timberlake Ranch Subdivision property boundary.  Negotiate with the Cibola National Forest to have this project added to their Schedule of Proposed Actions which contains a list of proposed actions that will begin or are currently undergoing environmental analysis and documentation.  

2. Management Recommendation, Reduce Fire and Safety Risks

a. Ramah Lake serves as a fire break along with the short grasses and other vegetation found around the reservoir and old Ranch House area.  Consider a small offset disk plow, mastication or prescribed burning treatments to keep larger vegetation (big sage and rubber rabbit brush) under control.  There are several properties along the Timberlake South reservoir front that appear to have disked they’re properties into manageable (less risk of fire) grasslands.  

b. I’m concerned about the heavy ground fuels found in Togeye Canyon where Timberlake road is located from Highway 53 to the front gate of Timberlake Ranch.  This road is the only way in or out of the Ranch and the heavy fuel loads (large decadent vegetation) along the road pose a safety risk to Ranch property owners (as well as emergency personnel) trying to escape should a fire break out in the canyon.  The road right of way is located through several property ownerships including BIA, Private and BLM.  Depending on the weather and condition of the road surface, Cibola County blades this road twice a year. Consider Identifying property owners and petition to seek vegetation management options to masticate plow or burn portions of the large decadent vegetation found between the road and the cliffs to the north of Timberlake road to create a safety zone for vehicle traffic in the event of a fire emergency.  An alternative to this is to consider plowing (offset disk or grader) road side bare soil strips once a year to provide safe passage for vehicles should a fire occur in the canyon if the right of way easement width allows access.  

3. Management Recommendation - Access roads that are incised can cause water to channel directly down the road resulting in gullying and washouts.  As practicable, ensure the road has: 1) drainage lead outs, 2) rolling dips on sustained grades, 3) out-sloping and 4) water bars installed as outlined in the New Mexico Forest Practices Guidelines commonly referred to as Best Management Practices (BMP).  More information about BMPs can be found at:

4. Management Recommendation – include dwarf mistletoe identification and removal for all species in all future thinning prescriptions.  

5. Management Recommendations: Modify as appropriate; thinning Rx's to reflect on-going effects of drought.  Treat (buck and stack, chipping or mastication) all dead and down trees to manage large woody debris ground fuel loads in future contracts.

6. Management Recommendations: On slopes of 15% or greater, leave larger long-logs in cross slope configuration to create soil check dams.  Require chips to be fully dispersed (less thick over larger areas) in areas that lack ground cover.  Consider moving and dispersing chips in more lightly stocked areas that have higher than normal erosion potential.  On steeper slopes that have erosion potential, consider treating slash with a lop and scatter of no more than 24” height from ground level were appropriate.    

7. Management Recommendation: Consider leaving lop and scatter slash in some of the common areas steeper slopes if thinned.  Consider pile burning on properties to return nutrients back to the soil but to also spur native grasses and forbs to become established.  

8. Management Recommendation:

o The Subdivision should consider prescribed fire in the common areas and around Ramah Lake as weather conditions and comfort levels allow.

o Snags play a role in providing roosting trees, bird cavity nesting, and woodpecker habitat.  My reconnaissance showed a majority of dead trees that I came across were being cut for firewood.  I understand not wanting a dead tree (snag) near a house but I would encourage owners to leave large dead trees that are located away from any structures or roads.    

9. Management Recommendation: The Subdivision should consider looking for locations to build wildlife drinkers and tanks.

10. Management Recommendation - Reduce forest densities in key areas which in turn reduce the risk of crown and total stand replacement fires.  Forest thinning to more productive stocking levels is a viable alternative to keep the forest within its natural range of variability.  The phrase “natural range of variability” is the current buzz phrase noting that forest ecosystems are never stagnant and have only one true state of existence.  The overall forested landscape in a natural condition should have all age and size classes of trees; a mixture of cover and forage areas; areas to gather water and areas that provide shelter.  Both stands of trees and wide open meadows provide some measure of this diversity.  When planning specific areas to be thinned, consider the surrounding conditions both on the property as well as neighboring property.  Not every acre needs to provide all things to reach all goals.  This is a common mistake made with the practice of forestry.  The more general the planning or fewer number of objectives, the better the results.

11. Management Recommendation - Where practicable, treat scattered dead and down trees to reduce the build-up of excessive ground fuel loads caused by the die-off of ponderosa pine by previous infestations of bark beetles and successive years of drought effects.  There are several small patches of dead, dying and down timber in the east side of Timberlake N and on south aspects of other areas caused by the recent and on-going draught.  I recommend buck and pile, pile burning or chipping.  

12. Management Recommendation - Consider a fuel break or restoration thin along the western cliffs in the 80 acre common area.  The thin should extend to the northern property boundary and to the reservoir on the south boundary.  Thinning should occur on slopes up to 35%.  Consider pile burning or lop and scatter strategies to encourage nutrient recycling or to enhance grass and forbs that maybe lacking on some aspects.

13. Management Recommendation - Consider permitting individual land owners to build and burn piles of slash under the supervision of the Fire Official.  By following the guidelines in Appendix H, and approving burn days, slash can be successfully burned in shorter duration release events.  If the Subdivision wants to consider prescribed fire in the common areas as previously suggested, contact New Mexico State Forestry for more information.


REPORT AS OF 2/29/2020

Since our Committee was formed over a year ago, we have learned a lot about forest health and fire mitigation.  As a result, we changed our name to reflect this broader view to include “Forest Restoration”.   As more landowners become involved, we are becoming a “Fire Adapted Community” consisting of informed and prepared citizens collaboratively planning and acting to safely coexist with wildland fire.  Finding solutions to reducing wildfire risk must be on-going and forest health is an important aspect.  One of the reasons we all moved here is to live in a wooded area; however, in areas where there are too many trees, not enough water is available for the health and growth of the trees.

The Committee recently presented a five-year budget plan to the Board and an inventory of the side roads that needs to be completed this year (ladder fuel project that was started last year).  We applied for a $500 grant from State Farm to be used for a chipper day/demonstrations/education/training on May 2nd, Wildfire Preparedness Day.  On March 20th we will find out if we are approved for the grant.  Regardless, we will conduct an educational session at the Ranch House on May 2nd.  Seven more applications for risk assessments on lots have been forwarded to the New Mexico Forest Service for consideration.  Starting this March In addition to provide information on the TRLA website we will provide brief updates/links on the Timberlake Facebook page.

Last fall, Thomas Marks, Contract Forester, prepared a very extensive Forest Stewardship Plan for Timberlake.  This plan needed to be prepared in order to apply for future grants.  Thirteen management recommendations are summarized in the Fire Mitigation section on the TRLA website under #7  Sub-Committee Reports. The Committee and Board will be reviewing these recommendations to determine what is feasible, establish priorities and include discussions at future meetings with landowners this summer for YOUR input.  

Ron Schali and Mary Jo Wallen have been named FAC Leaders (Fire Adapted Community Leaders) thru the Forest Stewardship Guild.  In addition to being able to share ideas and success stories with other Leaders throughout the State, we are supposed to be given extra consideration for grant opportunities.

Please check the website for up-coming events.  We will have information available at the Annual Timberlake Meeting on Saturday, May 23rd.

Our Committee members are: Tim & Eileen Domer, Ron & Rachel Schali,  Mary Jo Wallen and Shirl Henderson as our Board Rep.  Contact us if you have questions or suggestions.  If we all work together, a greater impact can be achieved to protect our homes, trees and landscaping around us.

UPDATE AS OF 2/26/2020

A planning meeting was held  on February 26th in Grants.  Ron Schali and Mary Jo Wallen represented Timberlake.  The Cibola CWPP had not been updated since 2006 and Timberlake was not recognized in the previous report.  As a result of increased communications with Cibola County and the survey which I hope you filled out, we are now officially recognized as a “high risk area” on their maps.

Another meeting will be held in May and we will provide the date on the website when it is set.  The Plan will be finalized in May and then submitted to the New Mexico State Forestry in June.  The State will then have six months to review the plan.

Of the nine priority fuel reduction projects in the County, Timberlake is mentioned as a high priority in the WUI (Wildland Urban Interface) areas of Timberlake and El Morro ranches.  Priority Actions include: Community Involvement, Reducing Structural Ignitability, Fire Responders & Equipment, Evacuation Planning, Communication and Water Resource Protection.  

Thirty-seven (37) ideas are being considered, some of which, we have already been recommending to landowners, ie: promote accurate signage of addresses to aid in firefighter response, conduct home hazard assessments of property and creating evacuation plans.

One major priority that was identified is to improve radio communications and remove dead spots.  We intend to pursue the availability of a loud alarm system that could be heard at least 3 miles from our Volunteer Fire Dept.

The most exciting news from the meeting is that Cibola County has finally opened up discussions with the BIA about the BIA road maintenance, which as we know is non-existent.  Ron and I want to thank the six Timberlake landowners who expressed their concern for this problem by filling out the survey at:  We have approximately 170 structures in Timberlake, so we need EVERYONE to express their concerns via this survey.  Information is still on the front page of the website.

On a funny note, while we were discussing the problem of our “one-way in and one-way out” situation on Canyon Road, I asked if helicopters could get us out and the answer was “Yes” and the “Air Force” could even be brought in to help.  I know they are close because last week a military helicopter flew about 100’ above my house.  I have never seen one before so close to the ground in Timberlake.

Ron and I also met Bob Kuipers, Council of Governments, Gallup, NM.  He indicated he is a grant writer and can help us in the future.


JULY 20, 2019

1. Ray Martin, Martin’s Wood Services has completed work on Halcon, Bluebird (cliffside of Timberlake Road) and Conejo between Halcon and Bluebird.  Approximately 5.5 miles still needs to be completed in Zone 1.  Ray has been paid for 1 mile of Zone 1 work.

a. Question to Steve Wills, may we please have a signed copy of Martin contract for our files?  Also, was the Additional Insured Certificate received from Ray Martin?  

b. May 28t, 2019 letter sent out to obtain bids indicated that partial payment would be made at the completion of each section.  Is Martin being paid by the section or by the mile?

2. On July 17, we met with Peter Allen, Allen Fire LLC , who is a certified wildfire mitigation expert and a State contractor with NM.  He is starting his own mitigation/forest management business and was recommended by Todd Haines, District Forester for our part of NM.  We toured the ranch to assess the scale of the problem.  He agrees we have a heavy fuel load issue, at high risk for a devastating fire.  He will send us information on his company and a range of prices for various services he provides.

3. We met with Todd Haines on July 18, 2019 to discuss the importance of having a Management Plan developed ASAP, since this is needed in order to be eligible for the Forest Health Incentive Program for Timberlake.  He referred us to Tom Marks, who works with his office, for assistance in writing the Management Plan.  We hope to meet with him around the first of August since the deadline is critical (September). Approximate cost to Timberlake is $5,000 to complete the several hundred page Plan for all 7,000 acres.  If we do not meet the deadline for this fall, we will lose a year.  More details concerning cost sharing for landowners will be discussed at the meeting.  We are respectfully asking the Board to approve this expense ASAP since it is critical to get started now.  

4. Mary Jo and Ron talked to CDEC several times and Ron was finally able to get Mark Bahls, CDEC, to agree to have their sub-contractors leave brush piles no higher than two feet tall.  They were leaving the piles six feet high, which is unacceptable.  Ranger Whitehair from Mt. Taylor also assisted in this request to CDEC.

5. Fire Mitigation updates have been put on the website and in the July newsletter.  An update will also be provided at the July 23rd, Watch Group Meeting.


Mary Jo Wallen and Eileen Domer

At the annual meeting on May 25th, the committee  provided educational handouts describing ways to protect our homes and property.  These will also be available at our Annual Watch Group Meeting on July  23rd at the Ranch House at 6 pm and at the Tuesday Library Days.  You can contact Mary Jo Wallen at 1-505-269-5022 if you want anything before the July 23rd meeting.  TRLA windshield stickers are also available from Nancy Wills -505 783 2457 (local) or 505 975 0528 (cell).

We are pleased that the TRLA Board budgeted $10,000 to begin fire mitigation along 10 miles of side roads in Timberlake.  Ray Martin won the bid to start trimming ladder fuels.  The goal is to complete this project before the chain saw restrictions begin.

We hope that through education and institution of specific projects Wildfire Mitigation will become an intrinsic part of the duties and responsibilities of every landowner and of the TRLA Board of Directors. Timberlake is designated as very high risk of a devasting crown wildfire. The Committee will  continue researching the possibility of obtaining grants to help landowners mitigate their property.

Please contact Ron or Rachel Schali (505-906-7512) if you want more information on:

1.  Helping an elderly or disabled person with cutting brush and taking the brush to the burn pile.

2. If you need help, let us know what type of assistance you need.

3. If you would want to “chip in to rent a chipper”.  You would have to have the brush already cut and properly positioned to maximize the rental time of the chipper.

4. If you want to have a risk assessment done around your home.

During the annual meeting we discussed the reasons why we should all participate in this on-going project to protect our homes.  Todd Haines, District Forester for our part of NM, gave a presentation and provided us with Tree Measurement templates to help you determine the basal area (BA) of the trees on your property. You can then determine if trees need to be thinned or allowed to continue growing.  We hope to receive more of these templates for the July 23rd meeting.

Adam Berry, Emergency Mgt Coordinator, Gallup, and Dustin Middleton, Fire Marshal/Emergency Manager from Grants gave a brief presentation supporting the Emergency Evacuation Guidelines that we recently drafted.  They appreciated the fact that Timberlake is being pro-active.  The guidelines were also reviewed with Animal Control Officers in both counties and the Livestock Board.  One suggestion was to have a buddy system between all horse owners.  Since we have several new landowners with horses, we will be talking with them soon.  Julie Farrell, Ramah Volunteer Fire Dept. also mentioned that she is concerned about dogs that might be left behind in a house or vehicle in an emergency.  She has one small crate available in one of the Emergency vehicles and asked that anyone who could temporarily help take care of animals in an emergency to please let her know at 783-2423.

The 5/23/2019 Emergency Evacuation & Neighborhood Watch Group Guidelines will be posted in the Emergency area of our website.  Please also see the Fire Mitigation Committee's March newsletter.

Fire Mitigation Sub Committee Report  Article March 2019

Fire Restrictions, Fire Alerts, and Safety Related Items


Dial 911 for Emergencies - be sure to say in which County you are located (McKinley or Cibola)

Timberlake Volunteer Fire Department Phone:505-783-4221

Ramah Fire Department phone: 505-783-4252

New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department-fire restrictions

Timberlake Ranch Fire Alert - 3/10/2016

The Timberlake Volunteer Fire Department responded to a fire on Quail Road today, March 9, 2016.  Unfortunately, the fire appeared to have been started intentionally.  Please be aware and report whenever you might be suspicious of a fire; such as smoke in the sky or smelling smoke in the air.  Do not assume that it’s a campfire or someone’s fireplace.  Please contact either Andy Wilson (783-4704), Bill Sanders (783-2463), or 911 and report the location.  If we hadn’t discovered the fire early, many acres would have been damaged and the fire would have been more difficult to put out.

Sincere thanks to Nancy Dobbs for reporting the fire and to Bill Wolford, George Dobbs, Wayne Ramm, and Mike Henderson for putting the fire out.  It is nice to see neighbors coming together to handle such situations.

Steven Wills

TRLA President


Home Phone:  (505)783-2457