Little Bear Fire 60 Percent Contained - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

Little Bear Fire 60 Percent Contained

Little Bear Fire June 17, 2012 - 9 a.m.

Firefighters Take Advantage of Weather to Increase Containment 

Start Time/Date: Monday, June 4, 2012

Location: Smokey Bear Ranger District, Lincoln NF, including White Mountain Wilderness

Cause: Lightning

Fuels: Mixed conifer, ponderosa pine

Size: approx. 38,133 acres

Containment: 60 %

Resources Committed: Personnel: 1,318; crews: 10 Type 1, 21 Type 2; engines: 94; helicopters: 7 Type 1, 3 Type 2, 2 Type 3; dozers: 2; water tenders: 20

Today's weather: 70 degrees, relative humidity 20-30%, wind WSW 12-17 mph gusting to 30 mph with 20% chance of thunderstorms over the fire

Injuries: 3

Structures destroyed: 254 (242 residential & commercial structures and 12 outbuildings)

Road Closures: NM 532 (Ski RunRoad) from NM 48 junction to Forest Road 127A is open to residents only

Area Closures: The entire White Mountain Wilderness, and that portion of the Smokey Bear District south of US 380 to the Mescalero Apache Reservation boundary including a large area east and north of Ruidoso to the south boundary of the Fort Stanton Recreation Area.

Summary: Crews will continue to improve containment line on the west side in preparation for the planned burnout. Activity on the remainder of the fire will consist predominantly of patrol, mop up, and chipping of slash. Yesterday's storms caused a heavy leaf fall from burned aspen, adding new fuel to previously burned areas. Firefighters will be vigilant for possible reburns. As light fuels dry this afternoon, more smoke will become visible. Assessment of needs for containment line rehabilitation has begun. Release of excess resources continues, making these resources available for other assignments.

All subdivisions except Angus and Bonita Park are now open. Ski Run Road and Bonita Lake are open to residents only. Residents returning to their homes should be alert for fire vehicle traffic, and wet or damaged roads as a result of this afternoon's storms.

Meetings: Daily community meetings are no longer scheduled. Additional meetings will be announced on an as needed basis.

Evacuations: All campgrounds west of Bonito Lake; Angus and Bonita Park

Shelters: Ruidoso High School at 125 Warrior Road. Pets and livestock may be taken to Pet Paradise in La Luz (575-434-1784), Otero County fairgrounds in Alamogordo (575-434-0788, 575-491-7553, or 575-491-4643), Lincoln County fairgrounds in Capitan (575-808-2814), Humane Society of Lincoln County in Ruidoso (575-257-9841 or 575-378-1039), Ruidoso Animal Clinic (575-257-4027), Dunagan Farms in Ruidoso (575-257-9549 or 575-621-4056), New Mexico Livestock Board (575-649-2758), Carrizozo Animal Shelter (575-648-2351), Thundering Paws in Alto (575-336-7297), and Yolanda and Robert Espinoza (575-354-9019).

Many residents of the community have expressed interest in making monetary donations to the firefighting organizations. Local fire departments should be considered first. Additionally, the following websites provide avenues for making donations: http://www.wffoundation.org/, and http://www.redcrossnewmexico.org/.

Information on wildland fire smoke and your health can be found on the New Mexico Department of Health's website at: https://nmtracking.unm.edu/eh alerts/, or call the New Mexico statewide health line at (877)304-4161. Additional websites for accurate fire information are Facebook.com/LittleBearFireNM, Twitter.com/T1SWIMT, Flickr.com.photos.lincolnnationalforest (maps), and Flickr.com/photos/wildland-fires-2012/ (photos).

Due to the ash and fire debris created by the Little Bear Fire, the risk of flash flooding is increased. The areas adjacent to Rio Ruidoso, Rio Hondo, Eagle Creek, Nogal, and Rio Bonito are historically prone to flash floods from rain in upstream drainages. The National Weather Service Advisories are available at: http://www.weather.gov/abq.

A predictive model for probability of thunderstorms over burned areas, known as Burn Scar Thunderstorm Threat Matrix, is available: http://www.srh.noaa.gov/images/fxc/abq/graphicast/image full5.gif. Register for Lincoln County CodeRED Emergency Alerts at http://www.lincolncountynm.net/.

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