Two people have died in their home on Wednesday, before they could evacuate the wildfire in Ruidoso, New Mexico that started on Tuesday. The remains of the couple were found on Thursday at their burned home. The couple were not identified and are the first reported fatalities of the so-called McBride Fire, according to a statement from New Mexico State Police.
The now proclaimed ‘McBride Fire” has grown to more than 5,700 acres and has destroyed 207 homes and forced thousands to flee the mountain town, local officials said. The fire has burned through forested canyons dotted with homes, fanned by traditional Spring-time winds gusting up to 90 mph.
Over 5,000 Ruidoso residents have been forced to leave homes in the resort town in the Sierra Blanca mountains some 135 miles southeast of Albuquerque, according to local officials.
Firefighters rushed more crews to the blaze on Thursday and wind gusts were expected to drop to 20 mph, giving air tankers more chance to drop fire repellant, said Kerry Gladden, a spokeswoman for the community of 8,000. Gladden added, “There are a lot resources in town, we’re hoping to get air attacks up.”
The blaze is the most destructive New Mexico wildfire in a decade, in terms of property losses. It was among around twenty wildfires burning in West Texas, Southern Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and southern California on Thursday.