Scott Able Fire
Day 3 – May 13, 2000

May 13, 2000 — Cloudcroft.Com Special Report

7:25 am MDT — Officials are optimistic that they will be able to have total containment on the Scott Able Fire near Cloudcroft by Tuesday. They regard the blaze as 50 percent contained now. Loss of timber to the fire was set this morning at 20,717 acres. No new information on structural damage. No injuries reported. The Type 1 fire team will take control of operations this evening at 6 pm. Many of the members of the Type 1 team are already on-scene and participating in fire fighting efforts.

10:05 am MDT — As fire fighting officials are able to better assess the situation, they are now reporting that indeed several structures, including homes, have been lost in the Scott Able Fire.

At least 14 structures have burned. Today’s winds have picked up considerably over yesterday. The sudden appearance of low hanging clouds in the immediate Cloudcroft area made residents nervous this morning but Forest Service officials have assured us that a strong fire line has been established between the blaze and the Village. While the fire is considered 50% contained, officials still have residents in the Cox Canyon, Rio Penasco Canyon, and Timberon areas on standby alert should there be a flare up and a need for evacuation. Over 450 firefighters are working the blaze including 21 fire engines, 14 dozers, 7 air tankers, and a helicopter. The tankers and helicopter are reported grounded at this time due to wind conditions.

10:30 am MDT — Reliable sources report Governor Gary Johnson is to arrive in Cloudcroft around noon today to assess efforts and damage done by the Scott Able Fire. Winds are high again today hampering efforts, but the Forest Service maintains they still hold on to a 50% containment with a strong line of defense between the blaze and the Village of Cloudcroft itself.

12:20 pm MDT — Winds have subsided a bit in the Cloudcroft area allowing the tankers to take to the air again in the fight against the Scott Able Fire. No new reports of acreage burned.

News sources are reporting that 3 individuals have confessed to starting the Cree Fire (the Ruidoso area fire). A fourth suspect is reported to have left the state.

12:55 pm MDT — Here is some good information from FEMA on protecting buildings from fire and what to do to prepare for possible fire evacuation.

2:00 pm MDT — No change in the status of the Scott Able Fire since last report.

We have put up a selection of the emails we received during our coverage of the fire. Thanks to everyone who wrote!

2:40 pm MDT — Forest Service press releases are available here. National Fire News is available here.

3:35 pm MDT — Fire direction has changed to Southwesterly and is revisiting areas that have already been burned. It is kicking up more smoke and the haze and smoke is visible in many areas that have been spared up to now. No new evacuations. Those evacuated to this point remain so and can seek shelter at Cloudcroft High School or Cloudcroft Church of Christ.

The National Guard remains on duty to prevent looting.

7:40 pm MDT — A special Cloudcroft.Com report. New forest restrictions. As of 8 am today, new fire restrictions have been imposed on Lincoln National Forest.

“No use of any open fires anywhere within the boundaries of the forest.

“No use of smoking materials anywhere outdoors.

These restrictions were actually planned before the fires near Ruidoso and Cloudcroft started.

Jose Martinez, Forest Supervisor for the Lincoln National Forest, has also stated that he is considering imposing specific area closures in parts of the Forest, but those closures are not in effect at this time. Martinez said closures of certain areas to public access could occur by June 1.

If a closure were to occur it would not be a shut down of the entire Forest, Martinez said. These closures would obviously be based upon the moisture levels in the next few days.

LATEST UPDATE ON THE SCOTT ABLE FIRE — No significant movement in the blaze during the day. Still considered 50% contained. Tanker planes have been effective. They will continue their drops until sundown. There has been an increase in the amount of smoke from the fire, making some residents nervous, but the Forest Service says this does not indicate an increase in movement or activity of the fire.

10:05 pm MDT — Background on the Scott Able Fire. It began mid-afternoon Thursday and was seriously out of control for the first 3 or 4 hours, but never actually threatened the Village of Cloudcroft. According to Forest Service officials, the fire was jumping several hundred yards at a time. Something most of the fighters had never had to deal with before. By good fate, weather cooperated on the second day (Friday) and fighters were able to get a handle on the fire. Today was windy early and caused new problems, but no fire lines were breached and with winds subsiding as the day progressed, new damage was minimal.

There has been no loss of human life. While any structural damage is a tragedy and beyond what is acceptable to a fire fighter, the damage has been held to a minimum. About 20 structures have been destroyed. Fire officials are still taking inventory of the damage.

Tomorrow, Cloudcroft.Com will attempt to gather information on the effect the fire has had on wildlife.

11:45 pm MDT — The Albuquerque Journal has a good article on the Scott Able Fire.

Day 2 Coverage

Day 4 Coverage