The village of Ruidoso is slowly putting the pieces together after a tragic wildfire caused residents to evacuate their homes and many lost not only their homes but their businesses as well.

Over the weekend full-time residents were allowed back into the town with many residents relying on local hotels as a place to stay. 

As of Saturday, the South Fork Fire was reported to be 31% contained with 17,551 acres burned, and the Salt Fire was at 7% contained, with 7,816 acres burned.

$10,000 reward for details on how the fire started: 

In a twist of events, the FBI announced that they would be offering up to $10,000 for information related to the South Fork Fire and Salt Fire in southern New Mexico, which caused thousands to evacuate.

The statement strongly implied that these wildfires had human involvement, which is why they announced that they would be offering the reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for igniting the fires.

Families Searching For Loved Ones: 

Due to the wildfires, internet access in the Ruidoso area is non-existent causing panic for family and friends who can not contact their loved ones due to the lack of internet service.

Ruidoso Wildfires Claim The Lives of Two:

Patrick Pearson, a beloved musician in Ruidoso, was known for his vibrant performances and generous spirit. According to close family and friends, he became a fixture in the community thanks to his bass playing and cover songs that he would sing at the local bar, Quarters.

Tragically, Pearson, 60, lost his life on June 17 or 18 as the South Fork Fire devastated the village in the Sacramento Mountains. Fire crews discovered his body among the ruins of the Swiss Chalet Inn, where he had been living since relocating from Albuquerque.

The second confirmed death was confirmed by State Police who say the person’s identity remains unidentified due to their condition being skeletal remains. State Police stated that they found a person in the driver's seat of a burned vehicle on Ranier Road during the South Fork Fire just before noon on Tuesday in Ruidoso.

South Fork & Salt Fire Updates: 


Wednesday brought plenty of rain to the Ruidoso area and although this news sounded like positive news for the wildfires, the heavy rain caused flooding that took out trees, power lines, and even a trailer park in Ruidoso Downs.

According to officials, the area received about 15 hundredths of an inch of rain within 30 minutes causing flash flooding through Gavilan Canyon.

Overwhelmed With Donations:

Ruidoso officials recently posted on their social media pages thanking people for the overwhelming support of donations for those in need in the Ruidoso community, and they urged people to continue helping the community through online monetary donations.

Their posts read:

“We appreciate all of the donations that have been coming in, but we are receiving reports from the donation drop-off locations that they are becoming overwhelmed with the amount of items.” 

Online Donations:

Monetary donations can be made to the Community Foundation of Southern New Mexico. Additionally, the Mescalero Apache Tribe has set up a GoFundMe for fire relief.

Monetary donations can also be made to The Community Foundation of Lincoln County. 

Emergency Shelters:

Evacuees from the Mescalero Apache Reservation should proceed to the Community Center Gymnasium. For assistance, contact the Emergency Operations Center at 575-258-6900.

LOOK: The most expensive weather and climate disasters in recent decades

Stacker ranked the most expensive climate disasters by the billions since 1980 by the total cost of all damages, adjusted for inflation, based on 2021 data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The list starts with Hurricane Sally, which caused $7.3 billion in damages in 2020, and ends with a devastating 2005 hurricane that caused $170 billion in damage and killed at least 1,833 people. Keep reading to discover the 50 of the most expensive climate disasters in recent decades in the U.S.

Gallery Credit: KATELYN LEBOFF

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