‘Evacuate immediately’: New Mexico villagers told to flee fast-moving fire

Last Updated: June 22, 2024By

Urgent Evacuation in New Mexico Village

Residents in a small village in southern New Mexico were told to leave their homes immediately due to a fast-spreading wildfire on Monday evening. The situation was so dire that people had no time to grab their belongings.


The village, Ruidoso, home to around 7,000 folks, issued a stark warning on its website and social media: “GO NOW: Do not attempt to gather belongings or protect your home. Evacuate immediately,” around 7 pm.

The wildfire, estimated at about 8.2 square miles (21.2 square km) with no containment, led to power being shut off by the Public Service Company of New Mexico in parts of the village. The state forestry division reported late on Monday that multiple structures were at risk, and some had already been lost. A section of US highway 70 was also closed south of the village.

Mary Lou Minic, a resident, recounted the urgency of the situation: “We were getting ready to sit down to a meal and the alert came on: evacuate now, don’t take anything or plan to pack anything, just evacuate,” she told KOB-TV. “And within three to five minutes, we were in the car, leaving.”


The fire, known as the South Fork fire, originated on the Mescalero Apache Reservation, prompting the tribal president to declare a state of emergency. It spread onto tribal and US Forest Service lands around Ruidoso.

Another fire, the Salt fire, was also blazing on the Mescalero reservation and southwest of Ruidoso. It had grown to over 4.3 square miles by Monday night with no containment, according to the forestry division.

Ruidoso, situated about 75 miles (121 km) west of Roswell, had several evacuation centers set up due to the wildfires. Additionally, an air quality alert was issued for very unhealthy air in Ruidoso and neighboring areas due to the smoke.

This evacuation followed a similar situation in southern California, where over 1,200 people were evacuated due to the Post fire, which had consumed more than 16 square miles when the evacuation order was issued.

Emergency Evacuation: New Mexico Village Faces Wildfire Crisis

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