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NM wildfires grow to 12,000 acres and $28 million estimated cost

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NM wildfires grow to 12,000 acres and $28 million estimated cost

May 29, 2024 | 9:50 am ET
By Patrick Lohmann
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NM wildfires grow to 12,000 acres and $28 million estimated cost
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Firefighters drop water and build fire line Monday where the Blue 2 Fire is burning in the Lincoln National Forest, about 8 miles north of Ruidoso. (Photo Courtesy US Forest Service)

Two lightning-caused wildfires in northern and southern New Mexico have grown to a combined 20 square miles, according to the latest figures from firefighting teams.

The Indios Fire has burned more than 5,200 acres and has cost an estimated $8 million to suppress. It is burning in the Santa Fe National Forest, about 7 miles north of the village of Coyote. Fire managers are largely allowing it to burn within a designated perimeter, citing the fire’s beneficial effects on the overgrown forest. 

The Blue 2 fire has burned more than 7,400 acres in the Lincoln National Forest in southern New Mexico. The blaze north of Ruidoso has cost an estimated $20 million to fight so far, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. 

Both fires are 0% contained. 

Unlike the Indios Fire, the Blue 2 Fire poses risks to homes and has prompted some evacuations. The command team in charge of the fire said Tuesday that the current evacuation orders will stay in effect for now and for the “immediate future.” 

As of now, the 8,000-population town of Ruidoso about 8 miles south of the fire has not been under evacuation orders. However, it is a possibility, according to maps published by the command team in charge. 

Wildfire potential ‘above normal’ through much of NM’s central mountains this summer

Specifically, Ruidoso residents could be ordered to mobilize to flee the town if the fire heads east of Dry Mills Trail, a 1-mile hiking trail about half a mile east of the edge of the wildfire.

Ruidoso could also be asked to be prepared to evacuate – what’s known as “Set” status – if the fire burns into nearby Phillips, Flume or Kraus canyons that are southwest of the Dry Mills hiking trail, or if it gets east of Forest Road 127A, according to fire officials with the Southwest Area Incident Management Team. 

To prevent any additional evacuations, firefighters are building fire breaks along the perimeter by hand and with bulldozers. Airplanes and helicopters are dropping fire retardant and water around the perimeter. 

State officials said that 10 crews, 32 engines, six helicopters and six bulldozers are being deployed to fight the Blue 2 Fire. 

 

See the latest maps of the Indios Fire and the Blue 2 Fire below