June 19, 9 PM - Firefighters Complete Black Line as Planned
Incident: Little Bear Fire Wildfire
Fire Information: (575)258-6900
Little Bear Fire June 19, 2012 - 9 p.m.
Firefighters Complete Black Line as Planned
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. 39,431 acres
Containment: 60 %
Resources Committed: Personnel: 935; crews: 8 Type 1, 11 Type 2; engines: 57; helicopters: 5 Type 1, 3 Type 2, 2 Type 3; dozers: 3; water tenders: 15
Today's weather: 82 degrees, relative humidity 10%, wind WSW 15 mph gusting to 25 mph
Total Injuries to Date: 5
Structures destroyed: 254 (242 residential & commercial structures and 12 outbuildings)
Road Closures: NM 532 (Ski Run Road) at the softball complex near NM 48 junction 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: The burnout operation on the west side of the fire is proving to be a very successful strategy. Black line is now in place from north of Runnels Stables west and south to White Horse Hill in the White Mountain Wilderness. Fuels were ignited along the containment line by ground forces, and aerial ignition was used to put backing fire on every ridge within the burnout area. Crews will continue to deepen the black line perimeter tomorrow. Helicopters will be used to ignite additional backing fires in unburned areas. Fire was more active, as expected, producing voluminous smoke this afternoon. Transport winds tomorrow are predicted to be light from the north-northwest. Unstable atmosphere will readily disperse smoke, and chance of smoke settling on any community is minimal. Activity on the remainder of the fire consisted of patrol and mop up, and rehabilitation of dozer lines in all divisions. Release of excess resources continues, making these resources available for other assignments.
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 and damaged roads.
The Village of Ruidoso wants everyone to know that, despite the fire activity, it is open for business. See the following websites: http://www.discoverruidoso.com/,http://www.ruidoso.net/, and http://www.ruidosonow.com/
Evacuations: All campgrounds west of Bonito Lake; Angus and Bonita Park
Shelters: 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).
As the monsoons approach, heavy rainfall may produce flash floods. The National Weather Service Advisories are available at: http://www.weather.gov/abq.
A predictive model for probability of thunderstorms over burned areas, known as Burn Scar Thunderstorm Threat Matrix, is available at: http://www.srh.noaa.gov/images/fxc/abq/graphicast/image full5.gif. Register for Lincoln County CodeRED Emergency Alerts at http://www.lincolncountynm.net/.
Just another day in the life of a firefighter
An operations section chief working the Little Bear Fire spent his birthday away from his family, in fire camp. This is not particularly unusual, but wait until you hear the rest of the story. He and his wife are both avid hunters, and between the two, have applied a total of twenty times for a "once-in-a-lifetime" bison hunt on the Kaibab National Forest, north of the Grand Canyon National Park. Finally, the wife drew one of the licenses, which cost $1,000. The couple spent nearly a month camped in a wall tent, searching for the big "shaggies," to no avail. Unfortunately, the bison were staying within the Park boundaries, protected from hunters. Before the season ended, the operations section chief was called to the fire, and had to leave his wife to fend for herself on the remainder of the hunt. After he left, the bison moved onto the National Forest, but his wife was the only one of thirteen hunters who did not fill her tag. She feels she would have had a much better chance had he been able to accompany her. Even more important than the cost of the license and the disappointment, the couple did not have the opportunity to share an experience which may never come around again.
While often disappointing, these missed events "come with the territory," and are taken in stride by firefighters for the benefit of others.