On Monday morning, a fire, which is being called the “Three Rivers Fire” of 2021 started in the Lincoln National Forest. According to officials, the blaze has already enveloped 6,100 acres, starting approximately half a mile from the Three Rivers Campground on the backside of the White Mountains of the Smokey Bear Ranger District. On Monday morning, the fire was reported to be at 4,000 acres.
The fire is “being driven by steep terrain and extreme fire weather conditions, including gusty winds and low humidity levels around 8 percent,” says the National Forest Service. The fire has spread almost to Ski Apache and into the South Fork area.
“The fire is 0 percent contained. Firefighters, aircraft, and equipment are on scene. Additional firefighting resources, including three additional large air tankers and ground crews, have been ordered and will be arriving as soon as possible. A Type-1 Incident Management Team was ordered this afternoon, will be in-briefed tomorrow, and take command thereafter. There have been no reported injuries. No structures have burned.”
“Smoke was highly visible from Highway 54 and is moving to the northeast into the adjacent communities of Alto, Capitan, and Ruidoso. Please visit the NM Department of Health’s smoke page for information on protecting your health during fires and on smoky days,” writes the Forest Service.
There is currently no known cause of the fire at this time, but an update is expected mid-morning on Tuesday with more information. As for now, those in the area should take heed of the following evacuation areas and centers, as well as the following road closures:
Evacuations: Evacuation notices are in place for:
• Nogal Canyon Area
• Bonito Canyon Area
• Ranchman’s Camp
• Loma Grande
• Cora Dutton
• Ski Apache
• Nazarean Church Camp, 200 Bonito Park Rd. Alto, NM 88316
• Capitan Senior Center at 412 Tiger Drive Capitan, NM 88316
• Ruidoso Downs Senior Center at 393 Highway 70 West Rd. Ruidoso Downs, NM 88346.
(Evacuees with livestock can take their animals to Lincoln County Fairgrounds at 101 5th St. Capitan, NM.)
• Ski Run Road
• Bonito Canyon Road aka Rd 107
• Nogal Canyon Road aka 400
• Three Rivers Trailhead and Campground
Following news of the blaze, public officials representing the area made it clear they are working with fire officials to [aid] in any way necessary. Republican Congresswoman Yvette Herrell wrote, “My staff and I are closely monitoring the Three Rivers Fire and staying in regular contact with the USDA, USFS, state, and local officials. Our prayers are with those fighting the fire as well as those in its path. Stay safe, heed the warnings and orders from authorities, and be prepared to relocate quickly if necessary. Please also beware of unconfirmed information about the situation, and follow official sources like U.S. Forest Service – Lincoln National Forest, Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, and nmfireinfo.com for the latest reliable and factual updates.”
To follow the latest information on the Three Rivers Fire, please follow the National Forest Service’s official page for the blaze on Facebook here.