Fire managers say 20 structures have been damaged or destroyed by a lightning-sparked blaze that jumped its containment lines and raced through thick conifer forest in southern New Mexico. Spanning only a few acres on Wednesday, the Little Bear fire began to grow Friday amid windy conditions. By yesterday morning, about 10,000 acres had been charred northwest of Ruidoso, the Lubbock (Texas) Avalanche-Journal reported.

The Pecos Zone Type III Incident Management Team (Northcott IC) took over management of the Little Bear Fire on Saturday (June 9) at 6 a.m. The Little Bear Incident Command Post is currently set up at the Smokey Bear Ranger District Office. Incident Objectives are to provide for Firefighter and Public Safety. The Southwest Incident Management Team, IC Joe Reinarz has been ordered and will be taking over the management of the fire.

Fire highlights follow:

Current Size: Estimated at 10,000 acres – The fire will be mapped by GPS and a more accurate estimate of size will be provided when it is available.

Summary: Structure protection will continue through the night. Engines and crews will be patrolling the fire line overnight.

Fire Behavior: Fire is still active on all perimeters but moving primarily to the Northeast.

Resources: Resources from the Forest Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), New Mexico State Forestry, Lincoln County Volunteer Fire Departments and Ruidoso Downs Fire and area volunteer departments have responded. Currently ordered are 10 Dozers, 9-T1 hand crews, 40 Engines, 4 Helicopters, 4-water tenders, 2 air tankers with an additional 3 on order and will be available throughout the day. Approximately 450 personnel are currently at the fire.

Structures: There have been 20 structures lost and crews hope to complete damage assessment within the next several days.

Closures: The following roads have been closed due to extreme fire activity: State Highway 532, Ski Run Road at Mile Marker 3, State Highway 48 to Capitan, Highway 37 to Highway 380

Evacuations: All campgrounds West of Bonito Lake, Villa Madonna Subdivision, Enchanted Forest, Nogal Canyon (Forest Road 400 Campground and Summer homes), Eagle Lakes Campground, Eagle Creek Summer Homes, Ski Run Road at Mile Marker 3, State Highway 532, Angus, Sierra Vista, Sontara (1,2 and 3), Rancho Ruidoso, Copper Canyon, Loma Grande, Highway 48 to Capitan, Highway 37 to Highway 380 and Ski Apache. Law enforcement has cooperated by conducting and supporting all the evacuations.

Shelters for evacuees have been set up in Ruidoso at the First Baptist Church on Country Club, Church of Christ on Sudderth and in Capitan the Trinity Baptist Church. Animals and livestock can be taken to J & J Country Church in Ruidoso or the Fairgrounds in Capitan.

Smoke from the fire is impacting the community of Ruidoso and surrounding areas.