Three Rivers Fire Evening Update: April 27, 2021

Fire Size: 12,000 acres

Containment: 5%

Cause: Unknown, Under Investigation

Resources: 8 Engines, 6 Type-1 Crews, 1 Type-2 Crew, 2 Helicopters, 1 Bulldozer, 1 Water Tender. Additional resources have been ordered and will be arriving tomorrow.

Total Personnel: 210

Date/Time Detected: 8:42 am, Monday, April 26, 2021

Location: The fire started half a mile north of Three Rivers Campground and has spread almost to Ski Apache and into the South Fork/Bonito area. 

Evacuations: Evacuation notices have been lifted in the following areas.

  • Nogal Canyon Area (until the Nogal Peak Trailhead)
  • Bonito Canyon Area up to the Bonito Lake Dam. Tanbark remains evacuated.
  • Church Mountain
  • Ranchman’s Camp
  • Loma Grande
  • Cora Dutton
  • Magado
  • Ski Apache Up to the Eagle Lakes turn
  • Villa Madonna


Evacuation centers are still available.

  • Nazarene Church Camp at 200 Bonito Park Rd. Alto, NM 88316
  • Capitan Senior Center at 412 Tiger Drive Capitan, NM 88316
  • Ruidoso Downs Senior Center at 393 Highway 70 West Rd. Ruidoso Downs, NM 88346.

(Evacuees with livestock can take their animals to Lincoln County Fairgrounds at 101 5th St. Capitan, NM. Please call 575-336-8600 if you need assistance transporting your animals.)

Road Closures

  • Bonito Canyon Road past the Bonito Lake Dam
  • Nogal Canyon Road past the Nogal Peak trailhead
  • Three Rivers Trailhead and Campground
  • Monjeau Lookout at Sierra Vista

Fire Update: After more accurate data was assessed, the Three Rivers Fire is estimated at approximately 12,000 acres. This 12,000-acre fire perimeter includes smaller spot fires that have “spotted” ahead of the main fire, however, unburned terrain remains between the main fire and spot fires.  An infrared (IR) flight has been requested to fly over the fire tonight. IR flights use infrared technology to pick up heat, which can then be used to map out the fire perimeter and the perimeter of any additional spot fires. The fire is 5% contained. There are no reported injuries, and no structures have burned. The fire crossed onto Mescalero Apache Tribal Land at the northern border.  Mescalero and the Forest Service are now working in conjunction on fire management activities. This morning, cooler temperatures and moisture allowed firefighters to work to construct fire line on the south end of the fire throughout the day.

Cloud cover began to lift mid-day, which resulted in increased fire behavior and smoke. Crews also continued scouting the rough terrain of the White Mountain Wilderness for potential fire line locations. Firefighters’ challenges in the coming days are the extremely rugged terrain and limited road and trail access in the fire area. The Type-1 Incident Management Team (IMT) was briefed this afternoon and will take command of the fire tomorrow at 6 am. A Type -1 IMT is a multi-agency team that is dispatched to complex incidents. They include specialized personnel trained in the different functional areas (i.e., operations, logistics, medical staff, radio communications, etc.) needed to support a wildfire.  Incident Management Teams are typed from one to three, with one being the largest and most advanced.

The Lincoln National Forest and surrounding areas are under a red flag warning and fire weather watch for the next three days. Southern New Mexico is in extreme drought conditions. Forest vistors are reminded that fire restrictions are in place on the Lincoln National Forest. No campfires outside of developed campgrounds are permitted, and there is no smoking allowed in the forest.

Smoke: Smoke was limited this morning but began to pick up in the afternoon. Smoke will be visible from Highway 54 and will move to the northeast into the adjacent communities of Alto, Capitan, and Ruidoso. Those with respiratory conditions are encouraged to stay indoors with the windows closed and use an air conditioner with a filter if possible. Please visit the NM Department of Health’s smoke page for information on protecting your health during fires and on smoky days:

You can expect another post tomorrow mid-morning.  

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