Scott Able Fire
Day 7 – May 17, 2000

May 17, 2000 — Cloudcroft.Com Special Report

7:45 am MDT — Fire officials are hoping today will be the day when they can declare the Scott Able Fire 100% contained. High winds and low humidity are going to make it challenging, though. Another Red Flag Day has been declared for the fire line today, meaning the possibility of breakouts exist. Yesterday fire fighters battled Scott Able to a stand still amid 50 mile per hour winds.

32 crews, 8 helicopters, and 53 engines are involved in the effort, for a total of 1241 people. Two slight injuries were reported yesterday. No new structural damage is reported, leaving the total at 64 residences destroyed, 16 out buildings, 11 vehicles, 1 bus, and 1 boat.

8:50 am MDT — Talk about gaining on the fire! The Forest Service now says that after checking their computers, they can take 4,000 acres off the burn list. The revised amount of forest consumed is 16,034 acres (70% containment), down from the figure of 20,717. A spokesman for the Forest Service says “It was a computer mistake. We didn’t have 4,000 acres of forest re-vegetate over night.” Officials have been told by the National Weather Service that high winds should begin to subside by noon today as the cold front that started through the area yesterday moves on past

10:40 am MDT — The Cree Fire near Ruidoso is considered extinguished with mopping up operations today. Meanwhile investigators are saying the Cree Fire was likely an accident, caused by youngsters who had allegedly set a branch on fire to illuminate the inside of an abandoned mine. This contradicts earlier widely-reported accounts that the fire was caused by an illegal and badly attended campfire.

11:00 am MDT — Winds remain brisk near Cloudcroft (estimated at 15-30 mph). The Weather Service says winds should be subsiding soon. Nothing new on the ongoing fight of the Scott Able Fire since the last report.

11:30 am MDT — A map showing the Soutwest Area fire behaviour potential is available here. A report listing the fire fighting resources in use in the Southwest Area is available here.

12:10 pm MDT — Winds still brisk around the Scott Able Fire, but no new incidents have been reported. The high winds are a double-edged sword. While officials would like to battle the blaze under calmer conditions, the high winds have served to burn out the small islands of fuel within the perimeter.

2:10 pm MDT — Winds are beginning to subside but still too high for aerial attack on the fire. Planes grounded until winds die down more. No outbreaks from the perimeter reported today.

4:10 pm MDT — No report of any change in conditions with regard to the Scott Able Fire.

6:10 pm MDT — A fire fighter is said to have suffered a heart attack while fighting the Scott Able Fire today. He is said to be resting comfortably in the hospital this evening.

The wind, forecast to subside by noon today, blew throughout the day and is just now beginning to die down. There was no chance during the day to use the slurry planes, but the fire remains contained within existing perimeters. A Red Flag condition, which was scheduled to be lifted at noon, has been extended until midnight tonight due to tenacious wind conditions. Tomorrow’s forecast indicated much less wind (15 to 20 mph), but very dry conditions will persist.

8:00 pm MDT — One fire fighter told us this afternoon “this is the best group of fire fighters I’ve ever worked with. Imagine fighting a forest fire in totally dried out conditions in 50 mile per hour winds and holding the line. That’s what we did today.”

1200 people are on the fire line in the Scott Able Fire tonight. The Red Flag is out until at least midnight. Tomorrow should be a much better day weather-wise for putting out the blaze.

9:30 pm MDT — The Albuquerque Journal has an article on the impact of the fire on Weed here. May 17 Forest Service press release is available here.

Day 6 Coverage

Day 8 Coverage