Arson Suspected in Ruidoso Area Fires, Contaminated Water Advisory for Lincoln County


With zero containment, the fires converging and continuing to race in a battle with multiple agencies in Southern New Mexico, 31 Miles of land scorched, 1400 structures damaged or lost, one confirmed death and arson is suspected as the cause. 

What caused the blazes hasn’t been definitively determined, but the Southwest Coordination Center listed them as human-caused.

The Cloudcroft Reader also reports that the mayor of Cloudcroft, Eric Turner has claimed: “it is his understanding that the fire was intentional.”

The Cloudcroft Reader continued: "We're on a steady line of communication," said Mayor Turner, referring to the collaboration between himself, Eric Crawford (the Mayor of Ruidoso), Chief Roger Schoolcraft, and the trustees. "We've offered all of our resources, but things are so bad over there right now that they're not sure what they need."

The fire has severely impacted Ruidoso, with communication being a significant issue.

"Their communication over there is not as good as it used to be," Mayor Turner explained. "The Wi-Fi is down, and they're having a hard time. They tried to do a Zoom call today, but it was breaking up badly."

The state Forestry Division says the fire grew Tuesday due to "long-range spotting," a term meaning burning materials are carried up by winds and fall outside the current fire boundary.

On Wednesday, the area is expecting scattered showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon.

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham made the decision to declare a State of Emergency for the South Fork and Salt Fires. The executive order was put into effect Tuesday morning, June 18.

On Tuesday afternoon, a precautionary drinking water advisory was put into effect for public water systems in Lincoln County. The decision was made by the state Environment Department's drinking water bureau.

The possible contamination is due to the wildfire impacts. Residents are being advised to seek alternative water sources to ensure public safety. Here's a look at the systems under the advisory:

Lincoln County water system advisories

  • Ruidoso Water System - 19,195 people served
  • Alto Lakes Water and Sanitation District - 3,406 people served
  • Eagle Creek Shell Convenience Store - 800 people served
  • Cedar Creek - 536 people served
  • Alpine Village - 253 people served
  • Eagle Creek Sports Complex - 250 people served
  • High Country Lodge - 194 people served
  • Smokey Bear Ranger Station - 180 people served
  • Tall Pines Water Association - 84 people served

Water from those systems can be used for other activities other than consumption.

For complete details of the water advisory visit…

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