Residents Evacuated as Little Bear Wildfire Near Ruidoso Still Not Contained

Saturday, June 9, 2012 - 11:26pm

RUIDOSO, N.M. -- The Little Bear Wildfire a few miles north of Ruidoso is currently 0% contained and has forced several evacuations as the fire nears more populated areas Saturday afternoon.

The fire has already burned about 10,000 acres and approximately 20 structures in it's path.

"Right now with the fire activity to even begin thinking about containment is a bit early," said Karen Takai, spokesperson for fire management.

Thick heavy smoke from the wildfire can be seen for miles. The smoke could be seen as far as downtown Ruidoso nearly 15 miles away.
The fire started on Monday after lightning struck in the White Mountain Wilderness above Bonito Lake.

It was originally contained, burning only about a hundred acres but high winds re-sparked the fire spreading to now more than 10,000 acres burning everything in it's path.

Takai said the steep and rocky terrain of the Lincoln National Forest has made it very difficult for crews to fight the blaze.

The extremely dry and windy conditions aren't making it any easier for the 450 firefighters and crew on the ground.

"It's causing this incredible fire behavior," Takai said. "Flame lengths up to 150 feet in the air."

Officials don't have an estimate of how many people have evacuated their homes in search of safety.

Some are being forced to leave their homes behind, their bags packed and their cars loaded with their most precious possessions as the fire approaches closer and closer to their homes.

"I'm going to stay here until I have to go its just the way I am," said Maggie Schumpert, who was asked by the sheriff's office to evacuate. "I'm going to protect what I have, but if I have to go I have to go."

The Schumperts planned on staying with friends for the time being but others are staying at shelters the Red Cross had set up for evacuees.

Fabiola Sanchez celebrated her 9th birthday at first baptist church miles away from the fire.
She and her family were evacuated at midnight the night before and might not have a place to call home after the fire is put out.

"We see the fire keeps going and the winds, we don't know what to expect," said Marco Sanchez.

No injuries have been reported and an estimated total on acreage burned has not been calculated.



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