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Weather impacts on Ruidoso wildfires this Southwest fire season

RUIDOSO, New Mexico (KVIA) -- The South Fork and Salt Fires continue to be 0% contained according to the New Mexico Fire Information. But the number of acres has not grown exponentially anymore.

The South Fork Fire continues to be at over 16,000 acres and the Salt Fire burning at over 7,000.

According to the International Association of Firefighters, over 1,400 structures have been damaged due to these fires.

ABC-7 spoke with Incident Meteorologist for the National Weather Service, Tom Bird who has been in Ruidoso this week helping the Incident Management Team to learn how these fires behave.

Bird said there's still a lot of values at risk, that's why authorities cannot call containment on these fires until they're absolutely certain that the fires can't break through the lines they have established.

"This is the time of year in the middle of fire season where it's the warmest, the driest, is breezy. This is the week, this week exactly is the peak of fire season, and just unfortunate that these two fires were established," Bird said.

The fire season for this Southwest region is getting towards the end of it, Bird said they expect the fire weather concerns could get moderated.

"In these conditions where the fuels are exceptionally dry, the air was single-digit relative humidity. The winds were strong from the southwest, the temperatures were above normal. It was just, unfortunately, the perfect recipe for disaster here in this community," Bird added.

Several roads and accesses around the town of Ruidoso continue to be blocked by New Mexico state law enforcement. ABC-7 crews saw several nearby residents asking them for information and updates regarding their properties.

It is still unclear when the roads will be open to enter Ruidoso. On Wednesday, the South Fork Fire experienced active fire behavior through the early part of the day until storms moved into the fire area.

Firefighters observed torching trees, uphill runs where wind and terrain aligned, and short-range spotting across the South Fork and Salt fires, including within the dead/down fuels of the 2012 Little Bear Fire.

Article Topic Follows: Ruidoso Wildfires

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Heriberto Perez

Heriberto Perez Lara reports for ABC-7 on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border.


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