Wildfires Threaten Ruidoso : Evacuations Ordered, Firefighters Mobilize”

Intense smoke fills the sky from the South Fork Fire in Ruidoso, N.M., on Monday.Courtesy Pamela L. Bonner/X.com
Intense smoke fills the sky from the South Fork Fire in Ruidoso, N.M., on Monday.Courtesy Pamela L. Bonner/X.com

Wildfires Threaten Ruidoso : Evacuations Ordered, Firefighters Mobilize”

The South Fork Fire and the Salt Fire are burning on Mescalero Apache tribal land, US Forest Service land, and around Ruidoso. The Mescalero Apache Fire Rescue and Bureau of Indian Affairs are managing both fires with help from Complex Incident Management Teams.

**South Fork Fire Update:**
The South Fork Fire is now about 5,252 acres large and has no containment yet. It’s expected to keep spreading tonight because of strong winds and low humidity. Many buildings are in danger, and some have already been destroyed. Ten Type-1 Hotshot crews are on the scene or on their way. Tomorrow, a Complex Incident Management Team will take over management of the fire.

The South Fork Fire started at 9 a.m. on Monday, June 17, 2024. It’s burning on Mescalero Tribal land, US Forest Service land, and near Ruidoso. The fire has been growing fast with very intense behavior. It’s causing long-distance spotting and extreme heat, making a big column of smoke. The cause of the fire is being investigated.

The temperature is 79 degrees Fahrenheit with humidity at 11%. Winds are blowing from the southwest at 18 mph, with gusts up to 25 mph. Tonight, it will get as cold as 58 degrees, with southwest winds slowing to 10-15 mph after midnight. Tomorrow, it will be sunny and reach a high of 86 degrees, with southwest winds at 10-15 mph.

People who are sensitive to smoke from the fires should be careful and check the air quality using the New Mexico Department of Health’s 5-3-1 Visibility Method. You can find more information at https://nmtracking.doh.nm.gov/environment/air/FireAndSmoke.html. There’s also an interactive smoke map at https://fire.airnow.gov/ where you can see current smoke conditions in your area.

**Evacuations / Road Closures:**
The Village of Ruidoso is under mandatory evacuation. US Highway 70 is closed from mile marker 249 (near NM Highway 244), 4 miles east of Mescalero, to mile marker 258, 2 miles east of Carrizo. The only evacuation route available is on Sudderth to Highway 70, leading out to Roswell.

There’s an Evacuation Center at Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell, located at 52 University Blvd, Roswell, NM 88203, in the gym. People with livestock and RVs can go to the Eastern New Mexico State Fairgrounds at 2500 SE Main St, Roswell, NM 88203.

**Community Resources:**
The Emergency Operations Center is now open and ready to help. For information or assistance regarding the South Fork Fire or other emergencies, please call 575-258-6900.

Residents and visitors who want to leave voluntarily can go to Capitan High School at 519 Smokey Bear Blvd., Capitan, NM 88316, for shelter. The Ruidoso Convention Center is not accepting any more evacuees. Those already there will stay unless the situation changes.

This information is important for everyone affected by the fires.

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