Three Rivers Fire evacuations update, wildlife effects


RUIDOSO, New Mexico (KTSM) — Many people had to leave their homes and evacuate areas near the Three Rivers Fire outside of Ruidoso on Monday.

While some evacuation orders have been lifted, officials with the Lincoln National Forest say they’re keeping an eye out for wildlife.

Wildlife in the forest have no choice but to flee from their natural habitat due to the fire. Residents who evacuated, on the other hand, say they’re on edge, but are hoping for the best outcome.

“Now that my family is out, my pets are out, I just don’t want to lose my home again. And I’m scared,” said Elizabeth Gilbert, a resident whose home is located near the wildfire.

Gilbert shared that she lost her home in 2012 during the Little Bear Fire and says it’s surreal to have to evacuate once again. She is sending a message to others who may become affected, as the fire continues to remain at 0 percent containment.

“All I can say is just get out of the way, get what’s important to you and get out. Nothing is worth losing your life over. Things are replaceable, you’re not,” Gilbert added.

On Wednesday morning, the fire had grown to 12,000 acres and was 5 percent contained. Evacuation notices have been lifted in the following 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

As far as wildlife, there are no reports of any deaths from the fire. “What typically will happen with wildlife is that they’ll move out of the area on their own. They have keen senses and they’ll migrate out of the fire area,” said Laura Rabon, public affairs officer with the Lincoln National Forest.

Rabon added that even though the majority of the time wildlife can take care of themselves, there are sensitive species on site of the Three Rivers Fire.

“We have a number of sensitive species that we are paying close attention to,” Rabon explained. “We have the chipmunk, we have the Mexican spotted ow, and we’ll be doing our best to protect the wildlife, as well as people’s homes and the local community here. All of it is a priority for us.”

Once the fire is out, Rabon said firefighters will do soil sampling to see the level of intensity on plant, soil and vegetation damage.

Officials with the Lincoln National Forest said they’re anticipating the fire to remain active the rest of Tuesday night into Wednesday as winds and temperatures rise.

There’s no further updates on added evacuations being lifted at this time.

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