Ruidoso Fires Thursday AM Update: 23,000 Acres Burnt, 1400 plus Structures Destroyed, 2 Confirmed Deaths


Amongst Flash Flood warnings Wednesday afternoon heavy rain and hail fell around the evacuated village areas near Ruidoso, Ruidoso Downs and areas of the Mescalero Apache Reservation in southern New Mexico threatened by two wildfires that have killed at least two people and damaged an estimated 1,400 structures.

The rain offered the hope of some assistance for firefighters, but added the threat of high winds and flash floods and placed a pause in some firefighting activities due to flash flood threats. 

Facing threats from the South Fork and Salt fires, Ruidoso was inundated Wednesday as a fierce storm dropped an estimated 2 to 4 inches of rain as it swirled above the Sacramento Mountains.

Emergency management conducted three water rescues in the burn scar, according to remarks from Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham Wednesday evening in Roswell. No additional details were released about the number of people rescued or their condition as reported by Source New Mexico. 

“While this weather is helpful to fight the fire, it is not helpful for the floods,” she said, urging people to stay out of the evacuation areas, because of the combined danger.

Additional reports to the National Weather Service included flooding around Bonito Lake (the city of Alamogordo and Holloman’s drinking water reservoir) mudslides on Gavilan Canyon Road, and debris and water on State Highway 532 (Ski Run Road) were reported to the team of and Alamogordo Town News. 

After 5 p.m, the weather service posted on the social media platform X: “Water rescues are ongoing in the Ruidoso area as flood waters surge down the slopes from nearby burn scars.”

Areas that were identified as most at risk for flash flooding included Ruidoso, Ruidoso Downs, San Patricio, Hondo, Tinnie, Glencoe, Sunset and Hollywood.

Kerry Gladden, spokesperson for the Village of Ruidoso, said the flash flood risk Wednesday afternoon forced crews to temporarily pull back from a number of areas where they were fighting fire over concerns about the crews’ safety. Those included: Upper Canyon, Eagle Drive, Sleepy Hollow, Country Club, Lower Gavilan, Lower Paradise Canyon, Two Rivers and Carrizo Canyon, according to a village post on social media.

Officials reported two people have died from the South Fork Fire. The first death was confirmed by the New Mexico Governor's Office. The second death was confirmed by New Mexico State Police on Wednesday, June 19 in the South Fork Fire burning in the west and north of Ruidoso.

Around noon, state police officers found a body “located in the driver seat of a burned vehicle on Ranier Road,” according to a statement from the agency as reported by KRWG. 

They’re not able to identify the person now because of the “condition being skeletal remains.” Also, there were no “legible” IDs or documentation found in the vehicle.

The person is the second confirmed death as a result of the fire. From Monday night into Tuesday morning, the South Fork Fire burned homes and businesses in north and west Ruidoso and in Alto just to the north.

The first death from the fire has been identified as Patrick Pearson who died near the Swiss Chalet Inn, where he’d been living. He was the first confirmed death. Pearson, 60, was a private kind of person, but made friends wherever he went, said his 36-year-old daughter Hillary Mallak to the Ruidoso News

More than 250 personnel were helping to fight the fires. The response effort is also using about 15 planes and helicopters. Both water and fire retardant are being dropped on the fires.

For information about the response, residents can call: 575-323-8258.

Cooler days with chances of rain are in the forecast for the rest of the week. Thursday, a 60% chance of rain with a high of 74 degrees is expected, according to the weather service. Friday, the chance of rain increases to 80% and decreases to 30% on Saturday.

Authorities continue to be concerned about the risks for “debris flows.”

Lincoln County water system advisories are still in place…

  • 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…

There is still high winds and containment is still classified as zero due to high winds and flash flooding. An assessment will be conducted midday per officials. 

Evacuations are continuing…

A State of Emergency for the Mescalero Apache Reservation has been implemented by the Tribal Council. Evacuations remain in place. The village of Ruidoso and the City of Ruidoso Downs is in “GO” evacuation status. Road closures are also in effect. Numerous additional evacuation orders have been issued, including Fantasy Lane, Summit area, Botella Road, Snow Springs, Fence Canyon, Whitetail, and Chihuahua Well. Please stay out of the fire area to allow firefighters safe access into the area and allow them to work safely. There are hazards in the area, including fire-weakened trees, downed power lines, and the potential for exposed gas lines.

Shelters are available at the following locations

  • Inn of the Mountain Gods Convention Center 28 Carrizo Canyon Road, Mescalero NM 88340
  • Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell Gymnasium 52B University Blvd. Roswell, NM 88203
  • NMMI Godfrey Center 101 W. College Blvd. Roswell NM 88201
  • Mescalero Community Center 108 Central Ave. Mescalero NM 88340
  • Capitan High School, Capitan NM 88316
  • Carrizozo High School 800D Ave. Carrizozo NM 88301
  • Christ Community Church 2960 Scenic Dr. Alamogordo NM 88310
  • Church on the Move 9001 W Brasher Rd. Roswell NM 88203
  • Church on the Move, Dream Center 2700 W Second St. Roswell NM 88201
  • ENM Fairgrounds(RVs & large animals) 2500 SE Main St. Roswell NM 88203
  • Goodard High School 701 E Country Club Roswell NM 88201
  • Lea County Fairgrounds(RVs & Large Animals) 101 S Commercials St. Lovington NM 88260
    Contact Wyatt Duncan 575-333-0252
  • Roswell Convention Center 900 N Main St. Roswell NM 88201

Animal Shelters:

  • Humane Society of Lincoln County 25962 US-70 Ruidoso NM 88345
  • Livestock Shelters: Mescalero Rodeo Grounds, for assistance with transporting livestock and directions call Cloyce Salazar 575-973-1394

Evacuation of large animals/livestock:

ENM Fairgrounds, 2500 S.E. Main, in Roswell, and Lea County Fairgrounds, 101 S. Commercial Street, Lovington, are offering stable space and RV hookups. Contact Lea County Fairgrounds Director Wyatt Duncan at 575-333-0252.

The New Mexico Military Institute, 101 W. College Blvd, and Roswell Civic Center, 912 N. Main Street, are accepting evacuees sheltering with leashed pets.

Information for livestock and other animals


    Please do not self-dispatch trailers to Ruidoso Downs Race Track. If you wish to assist with horse evacuations from the Ruidoso Downs Race Track, please call the Agro Guard hotline at 575-646-9191.


    Your willingness to help is appreciated! If you have gathered hay to help livestock affected by the South Fork and Salt Fires, please send your contact information and information on available supplies you may have, including amount and type available, to the New Mexico Department of Agriculture’s Hay Hotline at, or call the Agro Guard hotline at 575-646-9191. Please hold your donations until you have been notified that distribution has been coordinated. Be sure to check out the New Mexico Department of Agriculture’s hay and pasture contact page at This page was created so landowners and those with hay for sale may list what might be available.


    Your willingness to help is appreciated! Small donations of pet food for companion animals (e.g. cats, dogs) affected by the South Fork and Salt Fires can be sent to Salvation Army Roswell Armory, located at 612 W. College Blvd. Large donations of pet food should be sent to a food bank or pet rescue.


    ** indicates site also accepts small companion animals such as dogs, cats and chickens.

    • **New Mexico State Fairgrounds: Call 505-238-3478.
    • **Chaves County Fairgrounds: Call 575-420-3838.
    • Curry County Fairgrounds: Call 575-309-3851.
    • Eddy County Fairgrounds: Call 575-308-2367.
    • Lea County Fairgrounds: Call 575-333-0252.
    • **Lincoln County Fairgrounds: Call 575-849-1015.
    • Mescalero Rodeo Grounds: Call 575-464-9878.
    • Otero County Fairgrounds: Call 575-491-5619.
    • Socorro County Fairgrounds: Call 575-418-7428.
    • Sunland Park Race Track: Call 915-204-0887
    • Zia Park Race Track: Call 717-460-8774.

    For more updates visit…

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