Parts of New Mexico under evacuation orders as McBride Fire grows to more than 6,000 acres

The blaze, burning in Lincoln County, started four days ago and has since torched more than 200 homes, fire authorities said in a Saturday update. It remained 0% contained, and the area continues to be under a high fire risk through at least Sunday, as dry and breezy conditions are expected to continue unabated, CNN meteorologist Gene Norman said.
Two people were killed in the blaze, state police said in a news release earlier this week.

Firefighters fought flames Tuesday at a home in the village of Ruidoso, roughly an 180-mile drive southeast of Albuquerque, the release said. That evening, local police learned an elderly couple attempted to evacuate the fire was “unaccounted for by family members,” the release said. Authorities located remains of two people at the home the next day, state police said.

Others in the village told CNN affiliate KFOX the flames caught them by surprise. Mary Smith’s 83-year-old husband called her after he woke up to find their neighborhood was being swallowed by the blaze.

“He said, ‘honey everything is burning around us, I’ve got to get out of here,’ ” Mary Smith told the affiliate. She added someone from their church had called her husband and awakened him, saying otherwise, “my husband would’ve still been asleep.”

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham visited the village and met with local officials. “There’s no doubt that recovery will be a challenging process, but the state will be an active partner with Ruidoso and Lincoln County every step of the way,” the governor wrote on Twitter Friday.

On Saturday, evacuation orders remained for Gavilan Canyon — from Highway 70 to Lower Eagle Creek– and Homestead Acres/Lower Eagle Creek, Rancho Ruidoso Valley Estates, Deer Valley, Deer Park, and Alto East of Flute Player, authorities said.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Several blazes raise concerns

The McBride fire isn’t the only one scorching parts of the state.

The largest of the blazes, the Hermits Peak Fire, had been burning for 10 days on Saturday, and grown to more than 7,300 acres. The fire, burning in parts of San Miguel County, was 46% contained Saturday, with the help of more than 500 personnel battling the flames, authorities said in an update.
Around noon Saturday, local officials said firefighters struggled with suppression efforts in one part of the fire, and said several communities nearby remained under mandatory evacuations while others had been directed to prepare for potential evacuations.
Air quality concerns arise as New Mexico wildfires spread

A red flag advisory — indicating increased fire risk — was in place through the night, officials said.

Further south, the Nogal Fire also began earlier this week and was 4% contained, according to a Saturday update. The blaze had prompted evacuation orders for all residents of the Nogal Canyon.

The blazes have created air quality concerns, the state’s top health and environment officials said Friday, urging residents to protect themselves and learn about ways to maintain air quality safety, like by “setting home air conditioning units to ‘recirculate’ during fire events,'” the state’s health and environment departments said in a joint news release.

“Air quality conditions exist that may be harmful to the health of at-risk populations and can create unsafe driving conditions in areas directly impacted by the fires,” David R. Scrase, the acting cabinet secretary for New Mexico’s health department, said in a statement.

“Smoke exposure can aggravate conditions such as asthma, a chronic lung disease, or cardiovascular disease,” Scrase added.

CNN’s Chris Boyette and Paradise Afshar contributed to this report.

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