New Mexico wildfires leave 2 fatalities and 1,400 structures destroyed

On June 19th, two fatalities were reported in Ruidoso due to the wildfires raging in New Mexico. The number of destroyed structures has now reached 1,400, and approximately 8,000 individuals have evacuated the area.

According to Wilson Silver, a spokesman for the New Mexico State Police department, a man aged 60 was discovered deceased on the roadside outside the Swiss Chalet Inn in Ruidoso, located in Lincoln County, approximately 200 miles south of Albuquerque. The man had suffered from multiple burns caused by the fire.

As of Wednesday, the South Fork Fire has ravaged over 16,335 acres of land comprising Mescalero Tribal Land, U.S. Forest Service land, and Ruidoso, while the Salt Fire has scorched 7,071 acres. The two fires have collectively consumed an area of more than 36 square miles, with no containment yet achieved. The arrival of rain in the region has brought some respite.

On June 19th, the Complex Incident Management Team provided an update on the South Fork Fire and Salt Fire. As of the update, the South Fork Fire has affected 16,335 acres, while the Salt Fire has impacted 7,071 acres. Evacuations are currently in place, and the fire is expected to continue growing. The New Mexico Forestry Division shared this information on their Twitter account and included a link to the update as well as a photo of the affected area. #SouthForkFire #SaltFire #nmfire

According to George Ducker, spokesperson for the New Mexico State Forestry Division, fire crews, heavy equipment, and extra resources will persist in constructing fire lines on the South Fork and Salt fires. Meanwhile, air resources will provide assistance from above through continuous water and retardant drops.

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He added that the firefighters, both in the air and on the ground, may face difficult conditions due to the possible change in wind direction and the likelihood of afternoon thunderstorms.

On Wednesday afternoon, Lincoln County received a flood alert from the National Weather Service of Albuquerque. The area is expected to receive up to an inch of rain, which could provide some relief. Another system is forecasted for Thursday night into Friday.

Laura McCarthy, the New Mexico State Forester, informed reporters that the current weather forecast brings both negative and positive news. She expressed that the forecast indicates that the fire will continue to be unpredictable until the rainfall amounts become clear.

On Monday, police in Ruidoso initiated evacuations of the entire village, urging residents to prioritize their safety over gathering their belongings or safeguarding their homes. The authorities implored them to leave immediately. Following this, officers extended the evacuation efforts to the neighboring Ruidoso Downs on Wednesday.

In response to the worsening situation, Mexico’s Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham has taken swift action by declaring a state of emergency and issuing mandatory evacuation orders for Ruidoso and the surrounding tribal lands.

Grisham expressed her admiration for the people of New Mexico, as she witnessed a significant number of citizens offering their own homes as a shelter for those in need. She praised their generosity and compassion, which is a testament to the kind-hearted nature of the residents of the state.

As crews continue to battle up to eleven fires in California, investigators are working to determine the cause of this week’s fires in New Mexico.

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The authorities have issued evacuation orders for Copperopolis, a town located southwest of Sacramento. The Aero Fire, which has already scorched over 5,000 acres, is currently 33% contained.

The fire in Colusa County, known as the Sites Fire, has already burned over 15,000 acres and is currently only 5% contained. This blaze is located approximately 100 miles north of San Francisco.

The Point Fire in Sonoma County has already scorched an area of over 1,200 acres, but firefighters have managed to bring the blaze under 50% control. Meanwhile, the Post Fire, which has raged across more than 15,000 acres in Los Angeles and Ventura County, is also seeing some progress from the crews on the ground.

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