Three Rivers Fire Update – May 13, 2021

Updates will now be released every other day unless there is a significant change to report.

Acres: 7,040 acres

Containment: 50%

Vegetation: Grass, dead/down timber, and mixed conifer.

Start Date: April 26, 2021

Cause: Unknown, Under Investigation

Origin Location: ½ mile north of Three Rivers Campground; fire spread towards Ski Apache and the South Fork/Bonito area.

Ruidoso, New Mexico, May 13, 2021 – The Three Rivers Fire remains under the command of a Type-4 interagency organization. Firefighters continue to monitor the fire and are strategically focusing their attention on areas where they can safely construct direct and indirect firelines.

Yesterday, an increase in relative humidity and light rain showers over the fire area resulted in minimal fire behavior. Additional rain showers are forecasted for Friday. However, red flag conditions are expected over the weekend and, possibly into next week. This weather trend will result in increased fire behavior. Firefighters continue to monitor areas that are inaccessible and look for opportunities to construct firelines where it is safe to do so. They will also continue to work on extinguishing hotspots within the fire perimeter.

The control lines on the southern edge of the fire, where it had crossed onto Mescalero Apache tribal lands near Indian Creek, are secure and holding.

In the weeks and months following a fire, it is common for small pockets of unburned or partially burned vegetation within the fire perimeter to continue to smolder and produce smoke. Smoke may be visible during the afternoon and into early evening. Smoke will concentrate in lower elevations during the night and generally lift by mid-morning. Slight winds can be helpful with smoke dispersion.

Fire investigators are still investigating cause of the fire. Once they finalize their report it will be released to the public.

Closures and Fire Restrictions

The Lincoln National Forest and Mescalero Apache Tribal lands are currently under Fire Restrictions. There are no campfires allowed outside of developed campgrounds and no smoking outdoors in the forest.

All previous road closures have been lifted. Three Rivers Campground remains closed. We recommend finding an alternate place to camp and hike that is outside of the Bonito Corridor.

The Capitan Mountains Wilderness remains open, however there is a closure order in effect for the White Mountains Wilderness; this includes all trails within the wilderness area. For a list of closed trails visit

More Information:

It is important to recognize that longer, more extreme fire seasons will continue. Southern New Mexico is predicted to have an above normal fire season in 2021. Most of New Mexico is in extreme drought. Everyone in New Mexico should be prepared for an active fire season, learn more about living with wildfire and the “Ready, Set, Go!” principles that will help you take steps to protect your home and your family.

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