In Ruidoso, N.M., two wildfires named the South Fork Fire and the Salt Fire have ripped through over 21,000 acres. Despite their size relative to other state wildfires, their destructive force has forced thousands to evacuate.

A Look at the Damage

The South Fork Fire burned a total of 16,335 acres and the Salt Fire consumed another 7,071 acres. With both fires currently at 0% containment levels, an estimated 1,400 homes or structures are destroyed. The number of evacuated residents has reached approximately 8,000.

KOB 4 provided coverage of the damage on Gavilan Canyon Road. Karen Sandoval described her evacuation experience as “scary” with ashes falling like snow. Evacuees carried with them only what they could manage.

  • South Fork Fire statistics, Burned area 16,335 acres. Containment 0%.
  • Salt Fire figures, Area scorched 7,071 acres. No containment achieved yet.
  • People evacuated total around 8K.
  • Destroyed structures amount to roughly 1.4K.

Eyewitness Accounts

An evacuee named Jerome Kasero recalled how he urged his wife to grab essential belongings before leaving everything else behind. Citing his concern for the struggles of fellow community members in locating loved ones amid disaster brought him much emotional distress.

A sorrowful confirmation from authorities reveals that one individual has died in the fires – marking the second fatal wildfire event over a span of two years, after the McBride Fire in 2022.

  • Evacuees have mainly focused on taking only essential items with them.
  • The fires have caused at least one confirmed fatality.
  • Ruidoso has suffered its second deadly wildfire in a two year span.

Response Measures

For Lincoln County and the Mescalero Apache Reservation, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico issued an emergency declaration. An emergency management team is projected to be fully functioning by Wednesday morning. Several locations are designated as evacuation centers to help displaced residents.

  • Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham declared a state of emergency.
  • An emergency team will be fully active by Wednesday morning.
  • Multifarious locations are geared to function as evacuation centers.

Evacuation Centers and Assistance Services

The following evacuation centers are available for afflicted residents,

  • Gym, Eastern New Mexico University Roswell, 52 University Blvd, Roswell, NM 88203.
  • Capitan High School, 519 Smokey Bear Blvd, Capitan, NM 88316 .
  • Eastern New Mexico State Fairgrounds, ideal for livestock and RVs, 2500 SE Main St, Roswell, NM 88203 .
  • Humane Society of Lincoln County provides shelter for pets, 25962 US70, Ruidoso, NM 88345.
  • Mescalero Tribe’s evacuation center, Community Center Gymnasium, 512 Mescal Loop, Mescalero, NM 88340.

Apart from these shelters above, residents in Roswell can also visit,

  • Church on the Move at 901 W. Brasher.
  • Globester Center at NMMI with address being 101 W.College.
  • NM Dream Center situated at2700 W.Second Street .
  • Roswell Convention Center has its address as 900 N.Main .
  • Roswell Aquatic Centre located at1500 W.College .
    If the status changes those stationed at Ruidoso Convention Center which has reached capacity will take shelter in place. For further information or assistance residents can ring the Emergency Operations Center by dialling 5752586900 . 

The Road Ahead

The battle against wildfire is not over. Firefighters find it challenging to control the fires due to the weather conditions and uneven terrain. The Mescalero Apache Reservation where the South Fork Fire started is severely affected and it is still unknown how many structures have succumbed to the fires.
These fires are also polluters damaging the environment. With smoke billowing into the air they have added to air pollution posing health threats to people who live far from evacuation zones. As such these wildfires warrant more comprehensive disaster response and preparedness measures.

  • The fire containment efforts face difficulties from tough weather conditions and rough terrain .
  • The Reservation is enduring severe impacts. The extent of structure losses remains unidentified .
  • The environment suffers from smoke causing air pollution and health hazards.

A Nationwide Perspective

New Mexico is not the only state dealing with wildfires. California too battles numerous fires, with Post Fire being the severest covering 15,690 acres since its genesis on Saturday. These frequent fire instances across western USA point out the pressing need for better fire management strategies and resources.
As events unfold in Ruidoso, it’s crucial for residents to stay updated through official sources and comply with evacuation orders. Community support from firefighters, emergency workers, and locals will be vital in tackling this crisis.
The willpower displayed by the affected population in these challenging times captures their community strength.With consistent support networks alongside coordinated efforts , once immediate danger recedes recovery can begin..

  • In California rampant wildfires include Post Fire.
  • America’s west zone needs effective wildfire control measures.
  • Ruidoso residents must stay updated about current conditions and obey evacuation orders.

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