June 15, 9 PM - Subdivisions Reopen as Firefighters Corral The Little Bear
Incident: Little Bear Fire Wildfire
Fire Information: (575)258-6900
Little Bear Fire June 15, 2012 - 9 p.m.
Subdivisions Reopen as Firefighters Corral the Little Bear Fire
Start Time/Date:Monday, June 4, 2012
Location: Smokey Bear Ranger District, Lincoln NF, including White Mountain Wilderness
Fuels: Mixed conifer, ponderosa pine
Size: approx. 37,961 acres
Containment: 51 %
Resources Committed: Personnel: 1,425; crews: 12 Type 1, 23 Type 2; engines: 85; helicopters: 9 Type 1, 2 Type 2, 2 Type 3; dozers: 13; water tenders: 19
Injuries: 2 (heat related illness)
Today's Weather: 78 degrees, relative humidity 16%, wind SW 10-20 mph gusting to 40 mph
Structures destroyed: 234 (224 residential structures and 10 outbuildings)
Road Closures: NM 532 (Ski Run Road) from NM 48 junction to Forest Road 127A is open to residents only
Area Closures: The entire White Mountain Wilderness, and that portion of the Smokey Bear 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: Interior islands of previously unburned fuel continued to flare up on the west side, creating considerable smoke. An island of unburned fuel near Oak Grove Campground on the south side was consumed today, creating smoke visible from Ruidoso. Indirect line construction on the northwest flank was completed, with support from helicopter water drops, in preparation for a burnout operation as soon as conditions permit. Patrol and mop up continued on north, east, and sides of the fire.
At approximately 1:00 p.m. the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office announced that all subdivisions except Angus and Bonita Park are now open. Ski Run Road and Bonita Lake are open to residents only. Residents returning to their homes should be alert for fire vehicle traffic.
Meetings: A community meeting was conducted in the main gymnasium of Ruidoso High School, 125 Warrior Road at 7:00 p.m. A community meeting was also conducted at the fairgrounds in Capitan at 7:00 p.m.
Evacuations: All campgrounds west of Bonito Lake
Shelters: Ruidoso High School at 125 Warrior Road, and Trinity Baptist Church in Capitan. Pets and livestock may be taken to Pet Paradise in La Luz (575-434-1784), Otero County fairgrounds in Alamogordo (575-434-0788, 575-491-7553, or 575-491-4643), Lincoln County fairgrounds in Capitan (575-808-2814), Humane Society of Lincoln County in Ruidoso (575-257-9841 or 575-378-1039), Ruidoso Animal Clinic (575-257-4027), Dunagan Farms in Ruidoso (575-257-9549 or 575-621-4056), New Mexico Livestock Board (575-649-2758), Carrizozo Animal Shelter (575-648-2351), Thundering Paws in Alto (575-336-7297), and Yolanda and Robert Espinoza (575-354-9019).
Many residents of the community have expressed interest in making monetary donations to the firefighting organizations. Local fire departments should be considered first. Additionally, the following websites provide avenues for making donations: http://www.wffoundation.org/, and http://www.redcrossnewmexico.org/.
Information on wildland fire smoke and your health can be found on the New Mexico Department of Health's website at: https://nmtracking.unm.edu/eh_alerts/, or call the New Mexico statewide health line at (877)304-4161. Additional websites for accurate fire information are Facebook.com/LittleBearFireNM, Twitter.com/T1SWIMT, Flickr.com.photos.lincolnnationalforest (maps), and Flickr.com/photos/wildland-fires-2012/ (photos).
The firefighters on this incident very much appreciate the tremendous outpouring of support from Ruidoso and surrounding communities. As a token of this appreciation, we would like to share an account of one firefighter's unselfish act to help a community member.
On June 9 the acting Fire Management Officer (FMO) for the Smokey Bear Ranger District was driving in the Loma Grande Estates when he was flagged down by a frightened driver. She informed the FMO that she and her husband were evacuating their home when her husband, driving a separate vehicle, returned to the home to retrieve his dogs. The FMO quickly drove towards the advancing flames, repeatedly blowing the horn. Just as he was turning around to leave, the husband ran out of the house, which was already engulfed, and jumped into the FMO's truck. The FMO and his passenger escaped unscathed, although the tail lights of the truck were melted!
This is just one example of the courage, unselfish dedication, and sense of duty of members of the firefighting service.