Sunday, June 10, 2012

As the Gila National Fire continues to burn (37% contained and more than 434 square miles) in southwestern New Mexico, the state has another large forest fire in the *Lincoln National Forest which includes the White Mountain Wilderness area in southeastern New Mexico.

The "Little Bear Fire" is near Ruidoso and the surrounding area which is a popular summer and winter resort area and home to many ranches and a very heavily populated.  While the town of Ruidoso is not threatened at this time the outlaying areas are under evacuation.

The fire started on June 4 when a 100 acre fire that was contained jumped the fire line on June 8 and spread 1,000 acres an hour for first 10 hours and has now grown to 26,000+ acres.  

Hundreds of people have been evacuated and the fire has destroyed at least 36 structures as the flames spread into the mountain subdivisions. Thankfully no injuries have been reported

Firefighters are reporting wind-blown embers igniting tinder-dry forest two miles ahead of the main blaze in the mixed-conifer forest and describing the fire behavior as "extreme" and flame lengths of 100-150 feet. 

My heartfelt prayers go out to those men and women who work tirelessly to bring the fire under containment and those residents who have or could be threatened by the fire. 

Photos are from Ruidoso and surrounding area residents.

*The living symbol of Smokey the Bear was an American black bear cub who in the spring of 1950 was caught in a forest fire in the Lincoln National Forest.  The cub had climbed a tree to escape the blaze, but his paws and hind legs had been burned. After being nursed back to health in New Mexico, the cub was flown to the National Zoo where he lived for 26 years.