Wildfires burn more than 24,000 acres, FEMA must respond

RUIDOSO, N.M. — Fire officials said Friday morning that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is ready to help respond to the Ruidoso wildfires. As of Friday morning, the South Fork Fire was at 16,349 acres while the Salt Fire was at 7,652 acres.

Unfortunately, the fires have already caused two deaths.

Fire and weather details

Both fires remained 0% contained. The South West Area Incident Management Team said more than 1,000 people were on scene. Friday morning's update described Thursday's fire behavior as “minimal” due to rain and high humidity.

“Precipitation ranged from heavy rain and hail (up to 1.62”) to infrequent sprinkles and scattered showers throughout day and night firefighting operations,” a news release said.

Officials said cooler temperatures and light winds were expected Friday. Firefighters warned of thunderstorms that could bring heavy rain, flash flooding and debris flows in the afternoon.

Evacuations and closures

Officials said mandatory evacuation orders remained in effect for many areas in and near the two wildfires. Highways 48 and 70 in Apache Summit are closed. The open evacuation
route is Highway 70 to Roswell. State Highway 48 is closed from Alpine Village/University to State Hwy 220. US 70 is closed from mm 249 (NM 244 intersection), 4 miles east of Mescalero, to mm 258, 2 miles to east of Carrizo.

Officials also said an emergency closure has been issued for national forest lands in the Smokey Bear Ranger District. The areas are closed to public access.

To see the map of active fires, click on here. Find additional information on the Facebook page of the village of Ruidoso Or website.

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