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Three Rivers Fire in Lincoln National Forest spreads into Mescalero Apache Tribal Land

KFOX El Paso logo KFOX El Paso 4/28/2021 David Cross

The Three Rivers Fire has spread across more than 12,000 acres as of Wednesday as fire crews continue to work top contain the blaze.

According to the U.S. Forest Service, the 12,000 acres includes the total fire perimeter and some areas of unburnt forest within that larger area.

The U.S. Forest Service said the fire in the Lincoln National Forest began near the Three Rivers Campground Monday morning and was driven by steep terrain, gusty winds and low humidity.

Three Rivers Campground is located on the backside of the White Mountains of the Smokey Bear Ranger District but the fire has spread almost to Ski Apache and into the South Fork area.

The fire crossed onto the northern section of Mescalero Apache Tribal Land. Mescalero and the U.S. Forest Service are now working in conjunction on fire management activities.

Caption: Fire sky is seen in Capitan, New Mexico. (credit: Abby Black)

The U.S. Forest Service said the fire is five percent contained as of Wednesday.

There have been no reported injuries and no structures have burned at this time.

Smoke was highly visible from Highway 54 and is moving to the northeast into the adjacent communities of Alto, Capitan, and Ruidoso.

Evacuations: Evacuation notices are in place for the following areas

  • Nogal Canyon Area (until the Nogal Peak Trailhead)
  • Bonito Canyon Area up to the Bonito Lake Dam. Tanbark remains evacuated.
  • Church Mountain
  • Ranchman’s Camp
  • Loma Grande
  • Cora Dutton
  • Magado
  • Ski Apache Up to the Eagle Lakes turn
  • Villa Madonna

Evacuation Centers

  • Nazarean Church Camp at 200 Bonito Park Rd. Alto, NM 88316
  • Capitan Senior Center at 412 Tiger Drive Capitan, NM 88316
  • Ruidoso Downs Senior Center at 393 Highway 70 West Rd. Ruidoso Downs, NM 88346.
  • (Evacuees with livestock can take their animals to Lincoln County Fairgrounds at 101 5th St. Capitan, NM.)

Road Closures

  • Bonito Canyon Road past the Bonito Lake Dam
  • Nogal Canyon Road past the Nogal Peak trailhead
  • Three Rivers Trailhead and Campground
  • Monjeau Lookout at Sierra Vista

Please visit the NM Department of Health’s smoke page for information on protecting your health during fires and on smoky days:

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