The Ruidoso wildfires are still displacing residents as it has been estimated to have burned more than 20,000 acres and destroyed 1,400 structures and unfortunately, it has claimed the life of one Ruidoso resident. 

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.

“He was a private person but made friends everywhere,” said his daughter Hillary Mallak, 36.

According to Ruidoso News, Pearson had packed a bag and planned to leave, but the rapidly advancing fire cut off his escape. His son, Zach Pearson, 33, last spoke to him on Father’s Day, hoping everything was fine when they couldn’t reach him.

Pearson’s legacy as a father, grandfather, musician, and cook endures in the memories of those who loved him. The family has set up a GoFund Me page to help the family pay for funeral expenses.

South Fork & Salt Fire Updates: 

As of Wednesday afternoon, the South Fork Fire had scorched approximately 16,335 acres in the Ruidoso area, prompting a full evacuation of all residents on Monday, according to the New Mexico Forestry Division. 

Meanwhile, the nearby Salt Fire burned an additional 7,071 acres south of the village, leading to the evacuation of Ruidoso Downs the following day.

El Pasoans and people from other cities are coming together to help the residents who were forced to leave their homes due to the fires.

Many businesses are asking locals to donate items at their businesses so they can collect enough items to take to Ruidoso to help displaced residents in the area.

Urgently needed items include:

  • Non-perishable foods
  • Bottled water
  • Baby supplies
  • Dog and cat food
  • Clothing
  • Blankets
  • Toiletries

Donation Drop-Off Locations:


  • City of Socorro: 705 Texas Ave, Socorro
  • The Dog Stop: 9895 Alameda Suite 109, Socorro
  • Southern New Mexico Correctional Facility: 1983 Joe R. Silva Boulevard

Probation and Parole Offices in Southern New Mexico:

  • Las Cruces: 2635 West Picacho
  • Alamogordo: 1408 8th Street
  • Deming: 920 South Silver
  • Truth or Consequences: 411 East 3rd St. Suite 2

Roswell, NM:

  • Roswell National Guard Armory: 1 W Earl Cummings Loop

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. 

The Community Foundation of Lincoln County is also accepting donations online to help aid fire victims.

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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