Updated at 11:30 a.m. MDT April 29, 2021
Precipitation continues to fall on the Three Rivers Fire 8 miles northwest of Ruidoso, New Mexico. The “Smoky Bear” weather station near the city recorded more than half an inch since 1 a.m. Thursday.
Information from the incident management team (IMT) says firefighters are constructing direct fireline to further secure the blaze. As of Wednesday evening the team was still calling it 12,000 acres, but that number could change significantly when they are able to map the fire from the air without interference from clouds.
The IMT reported that evacuations have been lifted in the following areas: Nogal Canyon Area (up to the Nogal Peak Trailhead), Bonito Canyon Area up to the Bonito Lake Dam, Church Mountain, Ranchman’s Camp, Loma Grande, Cora Dutton, Magado, Ski Apache up to the Eagle Lakes turn, and Villa Madonna.
More rain and snow Wednesday morning has at least temporarily slowed the spread of the Three Rivers Fire eight miles northwest of Ruidoso, New Mexico. An additional six-tenths of an inch of precipitation is in the forecast for the fire area through Thursday, which could deposit more than five inches of snow in the higher elevations. The greatest chance of precipitation will be Wednesday night and Thursday morning. The live camera at Ruidoso showed wet streets in the city at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday.
Clouds for the last two days have prevented satellites and fixed wing aircraft from mapping the fire to determine exactly where it has burned. Fire officials for the last 24 hours have been using the 12,000-acre figure as their estimate for the size, before the rain and snow paused the spread. They hope to refine that number Wednesday afternoon and expect it to decrease after they can actually see the fire from the air and more accurately map unburned areas.
The Type 1 Incident Management Team assumed command of the fire at 6 a.m. Wednesday morning.
The fire has burned into the Little Bear Fire scar from 2012, where there is less vegetation to fuel the blaze.