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Crew Make Progress On NM Wild Fires

Little Bear Fire June 13, 2012 – 9 a.m.

Firefighters Turn the Corner on Fire

Start Time/Date:Monday, June 4, 2012 Location: Smokey Bear Ranger District, Lincoln NF, including White Mountain Wilderness Cause: Lightning Fuels: Mixed conifer, ponderosa pine Size: approx. 37,520 acres Containment: 35 % Resources Committed: Personnel: 1,170; crews: 10 Type 1, 18 Type 2; engines: 74; helicopters: 7 Type 1, 2 Type 2, 2 Type 3; dozers: 12; water tenders: 18 Today’s Weather: 84 degrees, relative humidity 8-18%, wind SW 10-20 mph gusting to 30 mph Structures destroyed: 234 (224 residential structures and 10 outbuildings)

Road Closures: NM 532 (Ski Run Road) at mile marker 3, east and west; NM 48 from Ruidoso to mile Marker 15, north and south; NM 37 from mile marker 0 to mile marker 8, north and south

Area Closures: The entire White Mountain Wilderness, and that portion of the Smokey Bear Ranger District south of US 380 to the Mescalero Apache Reservation boundary, including a large area east and north of Ruidoso to the south boundary of the Fort Stanton Recreation Area

Summary: Firefighters continue to make steady progress, and are focusing efforts on the northwest flank of the fire. With the assistance of retardant drops, crews will build hand line to contain the active fire front. On the north side, crews will build direct line and prepare the road in Nogal Canyon for a burnout operation today or tomorrow. The east and southeast sides of the fire are relatively quiet, and patrol and mop up will be the order of the day. On the south side, firefighters will bring fire west along NM 532. Around the ski area crews will fell snags which pose a safety hazard to firefighters engaged in mop up. The director of Ski Apache stated that although there is some damage to the ski area, it will be open this coming winter. A special team has been ordered to assist with planning for re-entry after the fire is contained and conditions are safe for the public.

Meetings: Community meetings will be conducted in the main gymnasium of Ruidoso High School, 125 Warrior Road at 4:30 p.m., and at 7:00 p.m. A community meeting will also be conducted at the fairgrounds in Capitan at 7:00 p.m.

Lincoln County Commissioner Jackie Powell will conduct a brief meeting regarding the possibilities of flooding and damage in the Valley after the Little Bear fire. The meeting will be conducted at Hondo School on Highway 70, Hondo, NM at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.

Evacuations: All campgrounds west of Bonito Lake; subdivisions of Villa Madonna, Enchanted Forest, Nogal Canyon (Forest Road 400, campground and summer homes), Angus, Sierra Vista, Sonterra (1, 2 and 3), Copper Canyon, and Loma Grande; Eagle Lakes Campground, Eagle Creek summer homes, Ski Run Road (State Highway 532) at mile marker 3, State Highway 48 to Capitan, and State Highway 37 to US 380 and Ski Apache. This list may not be all inclusive. Evacuees may contact either Alto (336-4341) or Nogal (354-2548) post offices to arrange for mail pick up.

Shelters: Ruidoso High School at 125 Warrior Road, and Trinity Baptist Church in Capitan. Pets and livestock may be taken to the fairgrounds in Capitan, Pet Paradise in La Luz, Otero County fairgrounds in Alamogordo (575-434-0788 or 575-491-7553), Lincoln County fairgrounds in Carrizozo (575-808-2814), Lincoln County animal shelter in Ruidoso (575-257-9814 or 575-963-6745), DVM Faris in Ruidoso (575-257-4027), and Dunagan Farms in Ruidoso (575-257-9549 or 575-621-4056)

Information on wildland fire smoke and your health can be found on the New Mexico Department of Health’s website at:

(See attached file: Little Bear Fire news release 6_13 am.pdf)

(12+ pix = gfx)

Date Started: 05/16/2012 – Cause: Lightning

Percent Contained: 51 / Size: 280,075 acres (437.6 square miles)

Number of Personnel: 505 including 7 hand crews

Equipment: 15 engines, 19 Water Tenders, 3 Dozers Aircraft: 6 Helicopters

During yesterday’s operational period, crews continued to fortify the line around Bear Wallow Lookout and to rehabilitate fire lines and roads along the northern fire boundary. Today’s efforts will include restoration of fire lines in cold areas of the fires. Continued protection of the Bear Wallow Lookout is a priority for today’s operation.

Visible fire activity occurred in pockets of unburned brush in the southern end of the fire, where the fire continues to make short runs. Firefighters are utilizing topographic features to their advantage where it can assist them in holding the fire.

Crews will continue efforts to clean up the cut branches and brush that were cleared to make the fire lines by chipping and dispersing them. Smoke will likely be visible in the southern portion of the fire near Turkey Creek as the fire slowly backs down the hill and then moves quickly back up the hill toward the main fire in patches of heavy trees. Firefighters are not expecting this to cause any holding concerns.

For your safety and the safety of the fire crews, please avoid traveling on Sacaton Road and Moon Ranch Road.

The weather forecast for the fire area through Friday is for continued hot and dry conditions. During this period, no thunderstorms are predicted.

For additional information regarding the post fire-flood assessment go to the Whitewater- Baldy Complex BAER page at

KNOW BEFORE YOU GO: If you are planning to visit the Forest, Stage 1 Fire Restrictions are in effect. Additional closures are still are in effect in several areas; please go to the Gila National Forest website at for current information or contact the Forest directly at 575-388-8201.

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