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All evacuations in place for the destructive McBride Fire were lifted Sunday morning, after firefighters made progress containing the blaze.
The fire, which started last Tuesday afternoon, has burned 6,159 acres and is 56% contained. For days the fire burning in and around the small mountainous southern New Mexico village had been considered 0% contained.
Kerry Gladden, a spokeswoman for the village of Ruidoso, said Sunday during a media briefing that officials at 10 a.m. were lifting the final evacuation orders still in place for residents who lived in lower Eagle Creek and Gavilan Canyon Road from Warrior Drive south to Highway 70.
“You are now able to go back and check your properties and get your stuff back home,” she said.
Sunday marked the first time that some residents could return to their properties since being told to evacuate on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The blaze has killed two people and destroyed 207 homes plus other structures since it sparked Tuesday afternoon and spread to the northeast. The cause of the fire is under investigation, according to fire officials.
Sunday marked the first time that fire crews reported any progress containing the fire, and they are expecting the containment to increase in the coming days, said Dave Bales, the commander of the Southwest Incident Management Team, which took charge of firefighting efforts on Thursday morning.
Bales said that power was being restored to the remaining customers without power Sunday.
“The increase in containment, we’re able to repopulate folks into evacuated areas, I’m hearing all power has been restored to everyone out there, that’s great news on Easter Sunday,” he said during a media briefing. “The weather is cooperating with us as well, and we have all the resources we need.”
The Nogal Canyon Fire, which is burning one mile south of the town of Nogal Canyon west of Ruidoso, has burned 433 acres and is 48% contained. That fire has destroyed six homes. A handful of evacuation orders remained in place on Sunday.
Hermits Peak Fire
Other communities around New Mexico are battling fires.
The Hermits Peak Fire, which started April 6 about 12 miles northwest of Las Vegas, New Mexico, by Hermits Peak and the Pecos Wilderness, has consumed 7,514 acres.
Fire officials said Sunday the fire was 46% contained. That fire was started accidentally during a prescribed burn. It is threatening the Gallinas watershed, which is the city of Las Vegas’ main water supply source.
Big Hole Fire
The Big Hole Fire started on private land in Valencia County. It has burned 890 acres and was 80% contained on Sunday, according to a fire Incident Information System. The cause of the fire is under investigation.