x

Society

2 Dead, More Than 200 Homes Charred in New Mexico Wildfire

Firefighters took advantage of a brief break in the weather but gusty winds were expected to return Friday to southern New Mexico where a wildfire has claimed two lives and charred more than 200 homes.

The fire has forced the evacuation of about 5,000 people in the mountain community of Ruidoso, where the remains of a couple were found near a burned home as they tried to flee.

New Mexico State Police confirmed the blaze killed the two people after it started Tuesday from a windblown, downed power line. Their names have not been released.

Thousands of customers in the area remain without power, and Ruidoso schools have been closed until next week.

Smoke from the McBride Fire rises near an intersection in Ruidoso, New Mexico, on Wednesday, April 13, 2022. (Justin Garcia /The Las Cruces Sun News via AP)

“We’ve had students who’ve lost their homes. We have to support them on Tuesday” when school resumes, said high school English teacher Sara Ames Brown. She said Thursday she was with students when they were evacuated by bus, with flames visible in the forest outside as they drove away.

Fire crews used a break in what had been a steady stream of relentless gusts to make headway against the flames on Thursday.

Incident Commander Dave Bales said the strategy was “attack while we can,” noting that winds were expected to pick up again Friday.

“We’re trying to keep this fire as small as possible, especially because it’s right in the community,” he said. “We’ve had a loss of a lot of structures so our crews are right there on the fire front going as direct as possible.”

The fire moved into a more densely populated area on Ruidoso’s northeastern side Wednesday afternoon, prompting more evacuations. Laura Rabon, a spokesperson for the Lincoln National Forest, interrupted a fire briefing and told people to get in their cars and leave after the flames jumped a road where crews were trying to hold the line.

Crews kept the flames from pushing further into the village on Wednesday, and Rabon said that progress continued Thursday as helicopters dropped water and ground crews secured lines on the east and south sides. They also put out hot spots in the neighborhoods where the flames raced through earlier this week.

A two-story house continues to smolder following the McBride Fire in Ruidoso, New Mexico, on Thursday, April 14, 2022. (Justin Garcia /The Las Cruces Sun News via AP)

The fire has torched an estimated 9 square miles (23 square kilometers) of forest and grass, and the strong winds that battered the area have left behind toppled trees and down power lines. Due to the power outage, the school district’s servers were down and email wasn’t working.

Six new large fires were reported Wednesday: three in Texas, two in Colorado and one in Oklahoma. In all, wildland firefighters and support personnel were trying to contain 11 large fires that have charred more than 40 square miles (103 square kilometers) in five states.

The National Interagency Fire Center reported Thursday that since the start of the year, 18,550 wildfires have burned about 1,250 square miles (3,237 square kilometers). That’s well above the 10-year average of 12,290 wildfires and 835 square miles (2162.64 square kilometers) burned.

Hotter and drier weather coupled with decades of fire suppression have contributed to an increase in the number of acres burned by wildfires, fire scientists say. The problem is exacerbated by a more than 20-year Western megadrought that studies link to human-caused climate change.

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

 

RELATED

WASHINGTON — COVID-19 cases are increasing in the United States — and could get even worse over the coming months, federal health officials warned Wednesday in urging areas hardest hit to consider reissuing calls for indoor masking.

Top Stories

General News

FALMOUTH, MA – The police in Falmouth have identified the victim in an accident involving a car plunging into the ocean on February 20, NBC10 Boston reported.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.

General News

PHILADELPHIA – The Federation of Hellenic Societies of Philadelphia and Greater Delaware Valley announced that the Evzones, the Presidential Guard of Greece will be participating in the Philadelphia Greek Independence Day Parade on March 20.

Video

Mission, TNH’s New Travel Documentary Series with Clelia Charissis (Trailer)

Every weekend, TNH and Clelia Charissis are on a mission, traveling around Greece and the world to highlight places through the people we meet along the way.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. abc@xyz.com

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.