As wildfires continue to spread through New Mexico, Ruidoso is mourning the loss of a couple that died while evacuating. The fire also destroyed hundreds of buildings and forced thousands of residents to flee.
On Thursday, authorities found the bodies of the unnamed couple. Previously, family members alerted police that they attempted to evacuate but had yet to contact them. Sadly, they were unable to escape their Ruidoso home before they passed away.
New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham extended her condolences to the family of the deceased couple. She also encouraged locals to stay informed as the wildfire continues its course.
“The loss of two lives in the McBride Fire yesterday is absolutely heartbreaking,” Governor Grisham wrote. “I am keeping their loved ones and the entire Ruidoso community in my prayers. Stay up to date with the latest information on New Mexico wildfires at nmfireinfo.com.”
Additionally, Grisham stated that all of New Mexico’s resources were working together to contain the fire.
“I want to assure the people of New Mexico that our local, state, federal and tribal agencies are working around the clock to make sure evacuees have the support they need as these unprecedented spring wildfires tear through our communities,” the governor said, CNN reports.
These are the first two fatalities of the McBride fire. Already, the flames have already destroyed 207 homes and burned 5,736 acres since their start on Tuesday.
New Mexico Wildfire Activity May Increase Because of Wind Gusts
For a short while, locals worried that the fire would continue to spread towards Ruidoso’s main street and the hospital. Thankfully, though, crews were able to block the New Mexico fire from this path.
“Firefighters have successfully held the fire from moving further into the town of Ruidoso at this time,” Laura Rabon, a spokeswoman for the Lincoln National Forest, reported.
Per The Guardian, incident commander Dave Bales also addressed the issue. He stated that crews are focusing on managing the size, rather than direction of the blaze.
“We’re trying to keep this fire as small as possible, especially because it’s right in the community,” Bales said. “We’ve had a loss of a lot of structures so our crews are right there on the fire front going as direct as possible.”
According to New Mexico’s official wildfire website, this will mean directing their attention to hot spots and high-risk areas.
“Today, engine crews working in the southwest area of the fire near the point of origin will focus on suppressing hotspots to prevent further damage to private property. Along the northwest edge of the fire crews will go direct, constructing handline to prevent fire spread to additional homes in the area,” the site informed. “The fire continues to spread to the northeast and fire activity is expected to increase this afternoon due to increasingly gusty winds.”