White Fire Update – April 4, 2011

9:00PM – Crews working throughout last night and today have made progress on the White Fire, burning north of Ruidoso Downs and west of Forest Road 120. With the lighter winds, operations staff were able to get an aerial view of the fire perimeter and have updated the acreage estimate to 10,089 acres. The fire is now 20% contained.

“The conditions are very dry,” said John Pierson, the incoming Incident Commander for New Mexico’s Type II Incident Management Team. “But without the strong winds to drive it we saw very little movement today.”

All evacuations have been lifted and all school activities are scheduled to resume normal operations tomorrow.

Crews will continue to patrol the fire perimeter along Highway 70 tonight. The fire continues to burn actively along its northwest flank, which is approximately two miles north of Ruidoso Downs.

A community information meeting about the White Fire is planned for tonight at the Ruidoso High School Gym at 9:00 pm. Fire officials will be present to provide the latest information updates and answer questions.

Acres: 10,089                                         Start Date: April 3, 2011
Cause: Under Investigation                  Location: North of Ruidoso Downs, NM
Containment: 20%                                 Fuels Type: Piñon/Juniper, brush/grass
Terrain: Steep and Rugged                   Resources: 5 Type 1 Crew; 7 Type 2 Crews;             .                                                                                      2 Helicopters; 16 Engines; 5 Dozers
Total Personnel: 401                              Structures: 5 homes lost with numerous outbuildings

10:10AM – Eddie Tudor, the White Fire Incident Commander, stated at the public meeting this morning that good progress was made overnight toward getting the fire under control. Currently there are 5 dozers and hand crews building line around the perimeter of the fire. The fire did cross to the south nexium generic tablet side of Highway 70 in the area of the River Ranch Campground and made a run uphill. Crews are working hard to contain the spread of the fire on the south side of the highway and at Forest Road 120 north of Highway 70. Lighter winds and lower temperatures today are aiding the efforts of the firefighters. Tudor also stated a determination will be made around 12:30PM today, once evaluations of the effected areas are completed, as to when evacuees will be able to return to their homes.

6:00AM – The White Fire, burning in Ruidoso Downs, is estimated at 6,000 acres this morning. The fire started yesterday and is burning in pinon, juniper, brush and grass. The current resources on the fire include 8 crews, 15 engines, 2 water tenders, and five dozers for a total of 251 personnel. The terrain is steep and rugged and the fire is 0% contained. 5 homes and numerous outbuildings have been destroyed.

The Pecos Zone Type III Incident Management Team took over management of the White Fire yesterday afternoon. Additional resources have been ordered and will be assigned to the fire as they arrive. The White Fire Incident Command Post has been set up at the soccer fields at the Ruidoso Intermediate School. The NM Type II Incident Management Team has been ordered to assume command of the fire and will transition with the Type III Team Monday evening.

Summary: The fire is in steep, rough, rocky terrain which started near Gavalin Canyon and has burned east through Ruidoso Downs, across HWY 70 towards Forest Service Road 120. The fire grew rapidly yesterday due to extremely gusty winds along with sudden wind shifts.

Fire personnel are using direct suppression tactics to contain the fire and keep it from moving south and west of Forest Service Road 120. Moderate to high fire activity has been observed on the entire fire perimeter as of late yesterday evening.

A public meeting has been set for Monday, April 4th at 10:00 a.m. at the Ruidoso High School for all concerned community members.

Classes have been cancelled for schools in Ruidoso and Ruidoso Downs today due to the White Fire.

  • hannah harrison

    I urge people wanting to stay in Ruidoso to support sierra lodge by giving them your business. They are so far the only hotel to offer free nights for evacuees.

  • Donna Reed

    Thank you for for your information! It is the most accurate and regularly updated that I have been able to find. In talking with my parents in Ruidoso, communication is difficult and I am able to pass along info to them that they are not getting (no Internet or local news).

  • T. Beckler

    You mean the Lodge at Sierra Blanca. I am sending them a Thank You note! These are our modern day heros who donate time, money or support when it is most needed. The Lodge hosted 45 community members and their families Sunday night when evacuations were implimented.