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RUIDOSO —Authorities found the remains of two people on Wednesday inside a home that burned down during the McBride Fire.
Officer Dusty Francisco, a State Police spokesman, said the agency learned an elderly couple had tried to evacuate the area Tuesday evening but were “unaccounted for” by relatives.
The discovery came as the McBride Fire burned thousands of acres in Ruidoso, prompting widespread evacuations and destroying more than a hundred structures, including homes.
Francisco said local firefighters responded around 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday to a house fire at 569 Gavilan Canyon Road. He said, later that evening, the Ruidoso Police Department learned an elderly couple had not been heard from since trying to escape the fast-spreading wildfire.
Francisco said on Wednesday State Police, Ruidoso police detectives and the Bonita Volunteer Fire Department found the remains inside the burned out home.
“State Police is currently working with the Office of Medical Investigator to positively identify the deceased victims and determine the cause and manner of death,” Francisco said. “NMSP will release the identity of the deceased when identification has been made by OMI, and (when) next-of-kin has been properly notified.”
The grim news capped an emotional day for many in this mountain community as thousands of residents were forced to flee the blaze while hoping that their houses would still be there when they returned. Others were dealing with the reality that their homes and most of their belongings were destroyed.
For Kenny and Michele Ryen it was supposed to be a quick trip to the store.
They left their home on Gavilan Canyon Road at about 1:30 p.m. Tuesday to pick up dish soap. They headed back about 30 minutes later, but a law enforcement officer wouldn’t let them drive down the road to their home of 18 years.
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Back at their house, their son saw the flames approaching and scooped up the family dog, a 7-month-old Yorkiepoo named Stevie Nikki, and fled.
“He said it was about five minutes later and the house was on fire,” Kenny Ryen said Wednesday as he waited at an emergency shelter. “He grabbed (Stevie Nikki) and took off running down the road because he couldn’t find the keys to his car.”
Raging winds over 80 mph on Tuesday contributed to wildfires that spread rapidly in the Ruidoso area, leading to thousands of people receiving mandatory evacuation orders.
So far, the McBride Fire has destroyed about 150 structures, including residences like the Ryen’s home, according to fire officials. It wasn’t yet known how many people lost their homes.
“We had trees coming down in town, roofs blowing off houses, this is definitely a wind-fueled fire,” said Lincoln National Forest spokesperson Laura Rabon.
The Ruidoso fire is one of several burning across New Mexico this week, including a prescribed burn-turned-wildfire threatening the Las Vegas water supply and a Belen fire that has cut off public river access.
The McBride Fire started Tuesday near Hull Road and Warrior Drive in Ruidoso, authorities said.
The fire had burned about 5,300 acres as of Wednesday evening and was 0% contained.
The fire jumped a road Wednesday afternoon into a mostly residential area, prompting an emergency evacuation for thousands of Ruidoso residents.
Rabon said fire crews had been working to keep the fire at bay on Gavilan Canyon Road.
“The fire has jumped the road that it was being held on,” Rabon said shortly after 4:30 p.m. “If you are in the area, please leave immediately. Get in your cars and go.”
Rabon’s announcement came during a media briefing, where Ruidoso officials were reporting that fire crews had made progress on the blaze throughout the day, and that an influx of firefighters were going to assume command of the fire fight early Thursday morning.
But Rabon interrupted that briefing to call for an emergency evacuation. She said a significant percentage of Ruidoso residents are now being told to leave their homes.
The new evacuation order is for the area of Gavilan Canyon Road between Meander Drive and Highway 70, behind the McDonalds and the Walgreens, said Ruidoso spokesperson Kerry Gladden.
Authorities used “reverse 911” to alert residents.
A Ruidoso police officer said the fire jumped from the west side of Gavilan Canyon Road to the east on Wednesday evening, which prompted the second wave of evacuations.
The evening announcement led to a flurry of activity along Gavilan Canyon Road as families rushed to fill their cars and get to safety.
A man and woman walked outside with clothes still on hangers and flung them into the back of an SUV. Another man rambled down the road, his pickup filled with furniture.
Charlotte Williams, who bought a home on Gavilan Canyon Road in 1972, waited as her family filled three cars with heirlooms and photographs as the sun was beginning to set.
She drove up from Las Cruces to help her son, who now owns the property, clear out personal items.
“Everyone feared this would happen one day in Ruidoso,” she said.
While there have been other fires in the area, Williams can’t remember a fire that threatened so many homes.
She said it appeared the fire started near the “McBride residence,” which she described as a massive, elegant estate.
“Oh, my gosh, there’s a lot of homes up there,” Williams said as she nodded further north up the canyon, where smoke clung above the pines in the hazy sky of the waning light.
Parts of Ruidoso remain without electricity and gas. A PNM spokesperson said 18,000 customers lost power, but by Wednesday afternoon about half had been restored.
Throughout the day on Wednesday, smoke billowed behind the canyon ridges on the north side of town. At some points large flames reached up above the trees. In town, many businesses were closed. Some had handwritten signs saying “closed for fire” taped to the door.
Flames could at times be seen above Gavilan Ridge, which is to the northwest of the Ruidoso Community Center.
Rabon said high winds — 70 mph sustained winds and 90 mph gusts — prevented aircraft from contributing to firefighting efforts on Tuesday. A helicopter and seven air tankers were assisting on Wednesday morning, until high winds grounded those efforts.
There were about 250 local, state and federal personnel fighting the fire on Wednesday, Rabon said.
A Type 1 Southwest Incident Management Team is expected to take command of the fire Thursday morning, she said. Between 700 and 1,000 people will likely be working to stop the fire when that team takes over, fire officials said.
The Ruidoso Convention Center is serving as an emergency shelter.
Red Cross workers were handing out supplies to people who had been evacuated, and cots were set up in a room where several people were resting Wednesday.
Margie Vaughan, who lives with her husband on Rim Road in Ruidoso, was at the convention center looking for information. Their home had no electricity or wifi, but was still standing on Wednesday.
“I just have a lot of sorrow for the people who lost their homes,” she said.
The Ryens suspected many of their neighbors suffered a fate similar to theirs.
“Everybody’s still alive. It’s all material stuff that can be replaced,” Kenny Ryen said. “… But there’s a bunch of people without a home.”
The couple looked shocked, sad and worn down as they waited at the shelter.
“Pray for Ruidoso,” Michele Ryen added.
The cause of the McBride Fire is under investigation.
A separate Nogal Canyon Fire burning northwest of Ruidoso has also led to evacuations.
That fire, which was caused by a downed power line, has burned 400 acres and destroyed 10 structures.
Hermits Peak Fire
Santa Fe National Forest officials apologized this week for the Hermits Peak Fire.
The blaze began as a prescribed burn last week, but has now scorched more than 6,000 acres northwest of Las Vegas and was 10% contained as of Wednesday evening.
Steve Romero, the Pecos/Las Vegas District Ranger, said earlier this week that unexpected weather conditions had caused the fire to spread outside the project boundary.
“We take full responsibility, and with a heavy heart,” Romero said. “We are really sorry for what happened.”
Half of the wildfire is burning in the Gallinas watershed — the main water supply source for the city of Las Vegas.
The New Mexico Environment and Health departments have issued a smoke advisory for San Miguel, Mora and Colfax counties through Thursday evening.
Big Hole Fire
All river access points and ditch bank access roads from Los Lunas to Belen are now closed to the public so that fire crews can continue fighting the Big Hole Fire.
The bosque fire had burned about 900 acres as of Wednesday evening and was 40% contained.
River closures are in effect from the Los Lunas river bridge south to the Belen bridge.
ALBUQUERQUE — An investigation has determined that a tree falling in power lines started a fatal fire that also destroyed more than 200 homes in the Ruidoso area four months ago, according to a newspaper.How many homes were lost in the McBride Fire? ›
Incident Overview. On April 12, 2022, the McBride Fire started at around 2:30 pm on Warrior Drive in Ruidoso, NM. The fire quickly spread into neighboring residential areas and continued to move northeast. There were two confirmed fatalities and over 200 homes lost.What started the fire in Ruidoso New Mexico? ›
"A power line started the fire at the top of Nogal Canyon at approximately 1:20 p.m." according to New Mexico Fire Info. "Strong wind gusts drove the fire for much of the day causing it to jump Highway 37 and start several spot fires." The Red Flag Fire Warming is in effect in Ruidoso until 8 p.m. April 13.How much did the McBride Fire burn? ›
The cause of the McBride Fire, which burned 6,159 acres in Lincoln County, destroyed more than 200 homes and killed two people is still under investigation, per the InciWeb Incident Information System.How many homes were lost in Ruidoso fire? ›
200 homes. $20 million in damages. In total, fire officials reported as of Wednesday there were 207 primary structures – mostly homes –decimated in the blaze.How much of Ruidoso burned down? ›
More than 6,000 acres were burned in Ruidoso as part of the McBride Fire and KOAT got an exclusive tour of the burn area.Is McBride Fire still burning? ›
McBride Fire now 100% contained.Which way is the McBride Fire moving? ›
'We've got 60 years of family history there.'
He said the McBride Fire is moving in a northeasterly direction into the Lincoln National Forest.
Calf Canyon & Hermit's Peak Fires (Mora, Taos, Colfax, & San Miguel County)Did Ruidoso burned down? ›
Ruidoso a decade ago was the site of the most destructive wildfire in New Mexico's recorded history when more than 240 homes burned and nearly 70 square miles of forest were blackened by a lightning-sparked blaze.
1. 2003 Siberian Taiga Fires (Russia) – 55 Million Acres. In 2003 – during one of the hottest summers Europe experienced up to that point – a series of extremely devastating blazes in the taiga forests of Eastern Siberia destroyed over 55 million acres (22 million hectares) of land.How big is the Cowboy fire? ›
The Cowboy Fire grew to 204 acres, and most of the burned area is in Bureau of Land Management jurisdiction. No structures were damaged in the blaze. The cause of the fire is still under investigation. Authorities report that the fire started in an area close to Juniper Canyon Road at approximately mile marker 8.What was the worst building fire in US history? ›
The Iroquois Theatre fire occurred on December 30, 1903, at the Iroquois Theatre in Chicago, Illinois, United States. It was the deadliest theater fire and the deadliest single-building fire in U.S. history, resulting in at least 602 deaths.How big is the McBride Fire? ›
|Percent of Perimeter Contained||100%|
|Fuels Involved||Grasses, Timber|
|Significant Events||Minimal fire activity today|
The fire is located approximately four miles northwest of the Village of Ruidoso, New Mexico, on the Mescalero Apache Indian Reservation and is 37 acres with 25% contained.What is the crime rate in Ruidoso New Mexico? ›
Ruidoso NM Crime Rate 2006-2018.
The McBride Fire started on April 12, 2022 around 2:30 pm on Warrior Rd in Ruidoso, NM. The fire quickly spread into neighboring residential areas and continued to move northeast. There are 2 confirmed fatalities and over 200 homes have been lost. The fire is now 89% contained.What is the largest fire recorded in New Mexico? ›
The resulting merger of those two burns, called the Calf Canyon/Hermit's Peak blaze, now ranks as the largest wildfire in New Mexico's recorded history.Is Ruidoso water safe to drink? ›
For the latest quarter assessed by the U.S. EPA (January 2021 - March 2021), tap water provided by this water utility was in serious violation federal health-based drinking water standards.Does Ruidoso have wolves? ›
Jeff Humphrey, a spokesman for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the agency that handles the Mexican Gray Wolf Reintroduction project in Arizona and New Mexico, said Thursday that no wolves have been released anywhere near the area around Ruidoso.
Ruidoso is one of the prettiest New Mexico mountain towns with 20% of the village's perimeter snuggled against the 1.1 million-acre Lincoln National Forest. Residents here enjoy quick-strike access to village lakes and parks, ponderosa and aspen forests, and serious mountain-grade hiking and biking.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — More than four grueling months and $300 million later, the federal government has declared the largest wildfire in New Mexico's recorded history 100% contained, a notable milestone but just another step in what local residents and officials say will be a long journey toward recovery.Who started the New Mexico fire? ›
Federal investigators previously determined that the New Mexico fire, which is still burning, was caused by two government-sanctioned blazes that merged after becoming respectively unmanageable.How many fires does New Mexico have in 2022? ›
|2022 New Mexico wildfires|
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Wildfires and prescribed fires in the region can result in plumes of smoke in New Mexico. Use the links on this page to find information on air quality data and how to protect you and your family's health when it is smoky.What is the latest on the fire in Ruidoso New Mexico? ›
Not at this time. There are no active wildfires in Lincoln County. The McBride Fire that started around 2:30 pm on Warrior Drive in Ruidoso, is 100% contained.What does the name Ruidoso mean? ›
Ruidoso's name means “noisy river,” for the Río Ruidoso, which tumbles from Sierra Blanca peak down to the Hondo Valley.
The Village of Ruidoso has nine sirens that are spread out across the village. They are part of the Emergency Management System that is used to alert residents of danger.What is the strongest fire color? ›
The hottest part of the flame is the base, so this typically burns with a different colour to the outer edges or the rest of the flame body. Blue flames are the hottest, followed by white. After that, yellow, orange and red are the common colours you'll see in most fires.What fire has the most deaths? ›
The 2022 California wildfire season is an ongoing series of wildfires burning throughout the U.S. state of California. As of 31 October 2022, a total of 7,211 fires have been recorded, totaling approximately 362,351 acres (146,638 hectares) across the state.What is the largest fire ever in the United States? ›
In the summer of 1910, the largest fire in American history raged in the Northern Rockies.How many people died in the Big Burn? ›
The Big Burn consumed over 3 million acres of the region's drought-stricken land in just 36 hours and killed at least 78 men.What was the largest forest fire in U.S. history? ›
On October 8, 1871, the most devastating forest fire in American history swept through northeast Wisconsin, claiming 1200+ lives.What caused the Big Sur fire 2022? ›
Fire burns above Highway 1 north of Big Sur, early Saturday morning, Jan. 22, 2022. The fire centered around the Palo Colorado Road neighborhood and was started by someone who doing a small pile burn, investigators said. High winds and dry conditions spread the blaze, which took almost two weeks to contain.How did McBride Fire in Ruidoso NM start? ›
The fire was named after McBride Road, near where it ignited on April 12, 2022. The McBride Fire burned 6,159 acres (2,492 ha), and was fully contained on May 7, 2022. The exact cause of the fire is unknown.What was the cause of the Amazon fire? ›
The fires in the Amazon are often started intentionally. Many of those starting fires are illegal land grabbers emboldened by the anti-environment policies of Bolsonaro's government. They are burning forests to clear land for other uses, such as cattle ranching, growing animal feed, or illegal logging.
"It was fueled by wide-spread drought, numerous dead and down beetle-killed trees, red flag weather conditions created by high winds and dry conditions, and low humidity," the Forest Service said. "The combination of these factors led to unprecedented, wind-driven, active fire behavior with rapid spread."Is Big Sur still burning? ›
By Bay City News • Published February 5, 2022 • Updated on February 5, 2022 at 2:51 pm. The Colorado Fire, which burned 687 acres near Big Sur in Monterey County, is 100 percent contained, Cal Fire said on social media Saturday.Will there be fires in 2022? ›
California. California has had a remarkably slow wildfire season in 2022, with only 362,232 acres burned in 7,095 fires. While the number of fires as of Nov. 2 is slightly above the 5-year average of 7,140, the number of acres burned is less than 1/5 of the 5-year average of 2,094,293.How many aircrafts are being used in the McBride Fire? ›
Seven air tankers and two helicopters were assisting with slurry and water drops.Is the Amazon still burning 2022? ›
In the first half of this year, deforestation claimed roughly 1,500 square miles of the Amazon rainforest, an area five times the size of New York City and the greatest loss since at least 2016, according to the Brazilian Space Agency.How much of the Amazon is left? ›
|Period||Estimated remaining forest cover in the Brazilian Amazon (km2)||Percent of 1970 cover remaining|
About 99% of Amazon fires start from human actions, "either on purpose or by accident," Alberto Setzer, a senior scientist at Brazil's National Institute for Space Research (INPE), told CNN. Setzer said people often set the forest ablaze to clear land for agriculture. Those fires can then get out of control.What are the top 3 causes of fire? ›
- Cooking. The number one cause of house fires is unattended cooking. ...
- Heating Equipment. When the weather turns colder, heaters are essential to heat our houses. ...
- Faulty Wiring.
Nearly 85 percent* of wildland fires in the United States are caused by humans. Human-caused fires result from campfires left unattended, the burning of debris, equipment use and malfunctions, negligently discarded cigarettes, and intentional acts of arson. Lightning is one of the two natural causes of fires.