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'GO NOW': Wildfires prompt evacuation of New Mexico resort town

Officials said two fires have surrounded the village of Ruidoso, New Mexico.
This photo provided by Jesus Figueroa shows a wildfire burning near the town of Ruidoso, New Mexico.
Posted at 11:00 AM, Jun 18, 2024

Fast-moving wildfires in southern New Mexico forced more than 7,000 people to evacuate from the town of Ruidoso on Tuesday.

The fires have burned close to 20,000 acres and damaged more than 500 buildings.

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham declared a state of emergency on Tuesday afternoon, readying more resources to fight the fires in Lincoln County and the Mescalero Apache Reservation.

City officials say there have been no reports of injuries or fatalities so far.

An alert implored some 7,000 residents in the town of Ruidoso to "GO NOW" as two separate fires continued to grow nearby. Officials said both fires have already grown to a combined size of more than 28 square miles and were zero percent contained.

"Please do not try to gather belongings or protect your home," the Village of Ruidoso said in a statement overnight.

An air quality alert was also issued for surrounding areas due to smoke.

Ruidoso is located about 180 miles south of Albuquerque and is a popular tourist destination. The town offers hiking, biking and horseback riding, multiple resorts and year-round golf.

Meanwhile, firefighters in California continue to work through hot and windy conditions to contain a large wildfire that broke out in the mountains north of Los Angeles near one of the region’s major freeways over the weekend. About 1,200 people, mostly campers and hikers, were evacuated from Hungry Valley State Park and other areas west of Interstate 5 due to the growing Post Fire.

As of Tuesday, Cal Fire officials said the blaze was 20% contained after scorching through about 16,000 acres across Los Angeles and Ventura Counties.