EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — On Tuesday, officials with the Lincoln National Forest said that the Three Rivers Fire that started Monday morning has grown to more than 6,100 acres.
The fire started near the Three Rivers campground, near the back side of the mountains.
There is some good news, however — county officials said rain and snow on the mountains are helping to suppress the fire.
Officials said they do expect the fire to pick up again once the rain stops.
“Right now the smoke is staying low to the ground, it’s staying low because of the clouds that we’re seeing,” said Laura Rabon, Lincoln National Forest public affairs officer. “People in the local area can expect additional smoke impacts in the area as that fire picks up.”
As of Tuesday morning, there were 150 firefighters working to contain the fire and containment is currently at 0 percent. There are no reported deaths, injuries or damage to private property.
Residents of the surrounding areas were ordered to evacuate, with 250 people having left the area. Lincoln Forest officials are asking people to stay clear of the area.
“We’re asking the public to stay away from the area for two reasons,” said Rabon. “One, to let firefighters come through and get to the area as quick as possible and second, to let evacuees get to safety.”
The fire started around 8 a.m. and spread to 4,000 acres by Monday night. Aircraft were deployed to help contain the fire on Monday night, but they had to be grounded due to high winds and smoke. If the weather allows, they will be deployed later Tuesday. Crews are, however, still suppressing the fire from the ground. More crews are expected to arrive on Tuesday.
Officials said the cause of the fire is still unknown, but an investigation is forthcoming.
U.S. Forest officials held a news conference Tuesday morning to give an update on the fire — you can view the full conference in the player below or here: