A massive fire broke loose outside the village of Timberon, New Mexico. Federal and Otero County firefighters are still containing the 300-acre fire in Timberon just 31 miles south of Cloudcroft Friday. Firefighters also contained the fire at Hubbell Canyon east of Sunspot and a 139-acre Guadal fire south of Timberon.
It is estimated that the Timberon fire is contained at 40 percent, yet the fire damaged 44 residential structures, 16 vehicles, 14 recreational vehicles and one Timberon volunteer fire department engine. According to the official sources, the engine burned due to mechanical failures. Governor Susana Martinez declared a state of emergency on Friday.
Governor Martinez led the activation of the New Mexico’s Emergency Operation Center to help the ongoing efforts by the fire department. Martinez also announced the approval of federal fundings to rebuild after the fire is over.
Timberon will also receive fundings from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. These contributions will cover about 75 percent of the cost fighting the fire which includes prepositioning of resources, evacuations and sheltering of residents, traffic control, and fire equipment. The state will cover the other 25 percent cost to suppress the fire.
Otero County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sgt. Steve Odom said that the fire started on the outskirts and moved closer to the village. He also stated that there were no injuries reported. Only one person sprained his ankle during the fire.
“Be assured we’re out there doing everything we can to make sure this incident stays as it is,” said Thomas Barta, incident commander for the Pecos Zone Incident Management Team.
— NM Fire Info (@NMFireInfo) July 17, 2016
Governor Martinez had a public meeting Friday night in Timberton to take questions and to hear their concerns. During this session, Martinez said that the community did great helping against the intense fire, and she also emphasized that every life is the most important thing, everything else can be replaced.
The cause of these fires remains unknown, but investigations are undergoing according to Timberton’s official sources. The New Mexico wildfire alerts informed that homes within the area continue to be evacuated due to hazard tree falling operations and ongoing mop-up operations. Residents’ safety continues to be a top priority. The smoke impact to the community has reduced, but the caution for smoke-sensitive individuals is encouraged.
The Cloudcroft High School Gym will be used as a shelter until the fire is fully contained. Also, the American Red Cross confirmed that about 40 Timberton residents have stayed at the shelter so far. Livestock is being set up at the Otero County Fairgrounds.
The 139 acre Guadal fire is contained at a 50 percent according to New Mexico Fire’s website. The fire is burning in the Lincoln National Forest near Rawhide Draw that’s north of Queen, New Mexico. There are no Structures in this area, and the source of the fire is still to be determined.
According to the New Mexico Fire’s website, the Guadal fire was detected around 5:30 p.m. Thursday. Firefighters were using full suppression tactics and making real progress.
On the other hand, the Hubbell fire which was caused by lightning in the Lincoln national forest on Friday was fully contained with suppression tactics. It didn’t damage any building, and the risks of spreading are minuscule.
The biggest fire currently in New Mexico is still the school fire on the Reserve Ranger District, which remains active and has now consumed 6500 acres within the management perimeter. So far it is 50 percent contained. This fire was caused by lightning on July 8 and is located at the junction of Snow Lake and Willow Creek along Forest Road 28 and County Road CAT-CO21, about 50 miles southeast of Reserve, NM.
Management actions taken yesterday included monitoring containment lines along the perimeter. The fire intensity was regarded as low with flames reaching up to one foot in height. Today’s include holding existing containment lines along the edge of the blaze. This will include securing the southern perimeter along the Snow Lake Road.
— NM Fire Info (@NMFireInfo) July 16, 2016
So far there are no campground or road closures due to fire activity. It is advised by the New Mexico Fire’s to drive with caution and to use their headlights to avoid accidents due to thick smoke, heavy traffic, and fire personnel along the roadside. The same lightning storm that caused the school fire also caused six different small fires that were successfully contained.
Source: Alamo Daily News