NATIONAL NEWS

1 firefighter injured, 19 structures damaged as wildfire burns in New Mexico

Apr 12, 2022, 8:13 PM | Updated: Jun 8, 2022, 3:16 pm
The fire began Monday in the community of Belen. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal/Zuma via...
The fire began Monday in the community of Belen. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal/Zuma via CNN)
(Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal/Zuma via CNN)

(CNN) — A New Mexico wildfire, dubbed the Big Hole fire, has scorched approximately 850 acres as of Tuesday afternoon, according to Valencia County officials.

At least one firefighter suffered a minor burn injury Monday and is recovering at home, Valencia Fire Chief Matt Propp said. One home and 18 outbuildings have been damaged or destroyed, the department said in a Facebook post.

The fire started in the community of Belen, about 30 miles south of Albuquerque. The cause of the fire, which began Monday, is under investigation. About 100 fire personnel are involved in battling the blaze.

Containment lines have been established, the chief said, but he didn’t yet have a containment percentage figure.

Propp said the area is seeing 40-50 mph wind gusts. A red flag warning is in effect for the Middle Rio Grande Valley until 9 p.m. MT, according to the National Weather Service.

About 200 structures are still threatened by the blaze, according to New Mexico Fire Information — an interagency website with information from federal and state agencies.

“Approximately 75% of the Whitfield Wildlife Conservation Area (WWCA) land area has also been impacted. The WWCA center (building) is not affected,” Wendy Mason, a wildfire prevention and communications coordinator with the state, wrote on the website.

To the southeast of that blaze, the 1,000-acre McBride Fire has caused the loss of “multiple structures” and prompted the evacuation.

“Everyone in Ruidoso north of the high school is under immediate evacuation notice. People should leave immediately,” the New Mexico Fire Information website said.

Homes are among the multiple structures lost in Ruidoso, home to about 7.600 people, according to the website.

Investigators have not determined the cause of the McBride Fire.

Ruidoso is just more than 100 miles from Belen.


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1 firefighter injured, 19 structures damaged as wildfire burns in New Mexico