Three Rivers Fire grows to 12,000 acres, 5% contained after some snow and rain

According to the National Forest Service (NFS), the Three Rivers Fire in the Lincoln National Forest has grown from 6,100 to 12,000 acres, with 5% of the fire contained. The fire started approximately half a mile from the Three Rivers Campground on the backside of the White Mountains of the Smokey Bear Ranger District. 

NFS lists the resources used to battle the blaze includes eight engines, six type-one crews, one type-two crew, two helicopters, one bulldozer, and one water tender. Total personnel fighting the fire has reached 210. 

The Forest service reports that an infrared (IR) flight was requested for Tuesday night “to pick up heat, which can then be used to map out the fire perimeter and the perimeter of any additional spot fires.”

On Tuesday morning, cooler temperatures and some snow and rain allowed firefighters to work to construct a fire line on the south end of the fire throughout the day. “Cloud cover began to lift mid-day, which resulted in increased fire behavior and smoke. Crews also continued scouting the rough terrain of the White Mountain Wilderness for potential fire line locations,” writes NFS.

“There are no reported injuries, and no structures have burned. The fire crossed onto Mescalero Apache Tribal Land at the northern border.  Mescalero and the Forest Service are now working in conjunction on fire management activities.”

“Firefighters’ challenges in the coming days are the extremely rugged terrain and limited road and trail access in the fire area. The Type-1 Incident Management Team (IMT) was briefed this afternoon and will take command of the fire tomorrow at 6 am. A Type -1 IMT is a multi-agency team that is dispatched to complex incidents. They include specialized personnel trained in the different functional areas (i.e., operations, logistics, medical staff, radio communications, etc.) needed to support a wildfire.  Incident Management Teams are typed from one to three, with one being the largest and most advanced.”

Evacuations: Evacuation notices have been lifted for these areas: • Nogal Canyon Area (until the Nogal Peak Trailhead) • Bonito Canyon Area up to the Bonito Lake Dam. Tanbark remains evacuated. • Church Mountain • Ranchman’s Camp • Loma Grande • Cora Dutton • Magado • Ski Apache Up to the Eagle Lakes turn • Villa Madonna.

Evacuation centers are still available: • Nazarene Church Camp at 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. Please call 575-336-8600 if you need assistance transporting your animals.)

Road Closures: • Bonito Canyon Road past the Bonito Lake Dam • Nogal Canyon Road past the Nogal Peak trailhead • Three Rivers Trailhead and Campground • Monjeau Lookout at Sierra Vista

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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