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Friday, October 07, 2022

Fast-growing wildfire destroys at least 150 structures in New Mexico Town

RUIDOSO, NM ( Associated Press) — A wind-driven wildfire swept through a mountainside community neighborhood in drought-stricken south-central New Mexico, burning at least 150 structures and forcing schools with 1,700 students to evacuate had to happen, officials said on Wednesday.

Homes were among structures that burned down Tuesday, but officials did not have a count of how many were destroyed in the fire, which covers at least 6.4 square miles (16.6 square kilometers) of forest, brush, and woods on the east side of the community. The grass was burnt. Ruidoso, said Lincoln National Forest spokeswoman Laura Rabon.

Rabon said no deaths or injuries were reported from the fire, sparked by winds of 50 mph (80 kph) and 90 mph (155 kph). The cause of the fire was being investigated.

Ruidoso’s high school and middle school were evacuated, but not burned. Village officials declared a state of emergency for the community and said that school classes were canceled on Wednesday as there was a power outage in the village due to power lines being down.

The burned dwellings were mostly a mix of trailers and single-family homes, and around 4,000 people were displaced by the evacuation. Village spokeswoman Kerry Gladden said officials were trying to survey as much of the damage as possible before Wednesday afternoon, when winds were expected to return, raising the risk of a fire.

“Right now, everyone is gathering around the people who were supposed to be evacuated,” Gladden said. “We are just trying to make sure everyone has a place to stay. Also, in the midst of all this, our village is still without electricity. Everyone is just here trying to get the resources to land where they are needed and feed everyone. ,

In 2012 Ruidoso suffered one of the most devastating wildfires in New Mexico history, when an electric spark destroyed more than 240 homes and burned nearly 70 square miles (181 square kilometers).

Rabon said the latest fire continued to burn overnight but was less intense.

However, no rain is forecast and humidity levels remain low, Rabon said.

“Those extremely dry conditions are not in our favor,” she said.

Rabon said another wildfire burned at least 400 acres (1.6 square kilometers) in Lincoln National Forest, northwest of Ruidoso.

Elsewhere in New Mexico, along the Rio Grande south of Albuquerque, wildfires were burning in the mountains northwest of the community of Las Vegas, and in meadows along the Pecos River near the city of Roswell.

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