Trap and Skeet Fire



DATE: JUNE 3, 2001 TIME: 0300


The Trap and Skeet Fire is burning on the Mescalero Apache Indian Reservation about two miles south of Ruidoso.

CURRENT ACREAGE: estimated 390 acres

STARTED: June 2, 2001, @ 1405 hours

CAUSE: believed to be human-caused and is under investigation at this time.

CONTAINMENT: no estimated containment time

FUELS: started in mixed conifer; burning in logging slash, heavy timber, and buildup of timber understory

TERRAIN: steep, rocky terrain

VALUED THREATENED RESOURCES: the village of Ruidoso, timber resources, and archaeological sites. Initially, Inn of the Mountain Gods was at risk, although the fire burned away from the Inn.

TOTAL PERSONNEL: estimated 200 with additional 400 on order.

EQUIPMENT: 13 engines (wildland/structural), 4 water tenders, and 10 dozers

CREWS: 4 hotshots and 2 regular crews

AIR SUPPORT: 7 heavy air tankers, 3 SEATs (single-engine air tankers), and 3 light helicopters The fire was reported at 2:00 p.m. Saturday and was attacked by Mescalero and Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) fire resources. Air tankers and crews working on the nearby Homestead Fire north of Ruidoso also responded. Precautionary evacuations were done of Inn of the Mountain Gods and several subdivisions on the south side of Ruidoso. At 10:00 p.m., all evacuees were allowed to return to their homes with a cautionary notice that if the fire makes additional runs today, they might need to re-evacuate. As the fire burned toward a Texas-New Mexico Power Company 150-kilovolt powerline, the line was disabled to avoid problems with smoke or aerial retardant causing arcing. Power was down in most of Lincoln County and the Mescalero area for about six hours.

The Mescalero Reservation and BIA Forestry Resources have had an aggressive program of logging, thinning, and prescribed burning that helped to lessen effects of the fire in extreme conditions of unseasonably hot temperatures and low humidities. The air tankers also laid extensive lines of retardant in conjunction with work on the ground by hand crews and dozers to keep the fire from spreading across Route 4, U.S. Highway 70, and into Ruidoso. The control strategy for the fire is “full suppression”!

A national incident management team from Arizona and New Mexico, headed by Incident Commander Larry Humphrey has arrived to help the Mescalero Tribe and the BIA in suppressing the Trap & Skeet Fire.

Objectives for the team include firefighter and public safety, protection of property, and archaeological sites. A prime consideration is also to keep fire from crossing into the Lincoln National Forest and the Village of Ruidoso as well as the protection of the 150-kilovolt powerline.

The forecast weather for June 3 is for temperatures in the high 80s and humidities less than 10%. Passage of a cold front may bring winds of 25-35 miles per hour. Although the fire has laid down for the night, the weather may bring intense burning as a problem to be dealt with.

Due to the active fire and EXTREME FIRE DANGER, the following fire restrictions are in effect on the Mescalero Apache Reservation:

  • No outside fires will be allowed, even the use of charcoal is strictly prohibited.
  • No outside refuse burning is prohibited during all hours.
  • Travel throughout the reservation will be restricted (no stopping or parking along roadway) including U.S. Highway 70 and State Road 244. Bureau of Indian Affairs law enforcement or Mescalero conservation officers will enforce all restrictions.
  • Patrols and some gate guards will be used to enforce travel restrictions.
  • The use of firearms, fireworks, or explosives will not be permitted.
  • Smoking restrictions are also in effect. Smoking is allowed indoors and in vehicles.

The public is also reminded that Inn of the Mountain Gods and Casino Apache was to be reopened at 0600 this morning. The Silverlake, Eagle Creek, and Ruidoso Cabins Campgrounds will also remain open.

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