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Blue 2 Fire in Lincoln County--UPDATE

Update as of Sunday, May 26 at 10:00 a.m.: According to officials, the Blue 2 Fire is now an estimated 7,402 acres with 0% containment, and Lincoln County is under a state of disaster to ensure resource availability.

Update as of Wednesday, May 29 at 4:10pm: Officials said Wednesday that the Blue 2 Fire is at 7,402 acres as more people are assigned to contain and control the fire, according to kob.com.

They say 643 people are working on 12 crews, 38 engines, seven helicopters, nine bulldozers and 10 water tenders. That’s up from 533 people working on 10 crews, 32 engines, six helicopters, six bulldozers and five water tenders Tuesday when the fire was at just under 7,200 acres.

Loretta Benavidez, the public information officer for the Blue 2 Fire, said it sounds like a lot of people. However, even with everyone helping out, the fire is at a high stake in growing bigger.

“That’s why they’re very conservative in calling containment. That’s why we’re still looking at 0% containment because you see the winds, you see the vegetation, and there’s still a lot of potential and the fuel that’s available, there’s still a lot of potential for this fire to continue moving,” said Benavidez.

The latest evacuation information from Lincoln County officials is available at the following link: https://www.lincolncountynm.gov/news_detail_T2_R25.php

Original Story:
A wildfire in the White Mountain Wilderness of the Lincoln National Forest has grown to nearly 1500 acres according to officials. The wildfire is due north of Sierra Blanca, and currently sits at 0% containment.

The Blue 2 Fire started from a lightning strike last Friday, and remained relatively small until red flag conditions fueled the fire to an estimated 1,478 acres, according to the U.S. Forest Service. The Blue 2 Fire is burning in the same area as the 2012 Little Bear Fire, which burned over 44,000 acres.

U.S. Forest Service Officer Amanda Fry said the initial zone of the fire was unreachable by personnel, but it’s grown to the point that fire crews are now working to fully suppress the blaze.

“Initially it was in a very steep, hard to reach area. Very remote and completely within the wilderness area. Typically with the wilderness areas you kind of just let nature run its course. As it grows we’ve transitioned to a full-suppression strategy, and we are bringing in a Type 1 Team. They are going to be on scene, several more Hotshot crews, more heavy equipment, [and] we are doing aerial attacks today in anticipation of the wind events over the weekend. So we’re going to continue to just use full suppression tactics,” Fry said.

Areas under evacuation orders include Bonito Lake Road, and Forest Service Roads 107 and 108. Areas under high alert include the subdivisions of Villa Madonna, Sierra Vista, and Sun Valley.

A shelter for those under evacuation orders has been set up at the Lincoln County Fairgrounds in Capitan, and animal shelter is available at the Humane Society of Lincoln County in Ruidoso.

Updates on the fire can be found at NMFireInfo.com, as well as the Lincoln National Forest Facebook Page.

Jonny Coker is a Multimedia Journalist for KRWG Public Media. He has lived in Southern New Mexico for most of his life, growing up in the small Village of Cloudcroft, and earning a degree in Journalism and Media Studies at New Mexico State University.