Lincoln National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
3463 Las Palomas
Alamogordo, NM 88310
The Three Rivers Fire was detected about one half mile from the Three Rivers Campground in the Lincoln National Forest at 8:42am on April 26, 2021. It was initially sized at 30 acres, but grew to 6100 acres by 7:00am on April 27, 2021 due to high winds and other favorable climate conditions for increased fire behavior.
Local firefighters from the surrounding communities including Ruidoso Fire Department, Nogal Volunteer Fire Department, Lincoln Volunteer Fire Department, Glencoe Volunteer Fire Department, Capitan Volunteer Fire Department, among others worked closely with the USDA Forest Service on initial attack.
Approximately 250 community members were impacted by evacuations in the surrounding areas. However, precipitation in the form of both rain and snow began falling on the fire during the night of April 26th and continued on and off through the week, greatly reducing fire behavior. The fire entered the fire scar of the Little Bear Fire that burned in 2012, which also decreased fire activity as the vegetation was low to the ground and most was considered to be a fine fuel type (burns quickly, but not at a high temperature).
At 1:00pm on April 27, 2021, evacuees were allowed to return to their homes. The incident transferred command to a Type 1 Incident Command team from the USDA Forest Service at 6:00am on April 28, 2021. Weather continued to be favorable for fire suppression. Rain and snow as well as mild temperatures for numerous days resulted in mild fire activity. Winds picked back up on Sunday, May 2, 2021, however fire lines continued to hold and there was minimal perimeter growth. After numerous days with no fire growth and minimal fire activity, the fire was transferred to a Type-3 Incident Management Team on May 4, followed by transfer of command to a Type 4 Incident organization on May 9, 2021.
|Current as of|
|Cause||Unknown, Under Investigation|
|Date of Origin||Monday April 26th, 2021 approx. 08:00 AM|
|Location||North side-Ruidoso, NM South side-Three Rivers CG, Mescalero and Tularosa, NM|
|Coordinates||33.402 latitude, -105.871 longitude|
|Percent of Perimeter Contained||98%|
Short Grass (1 foot)
Timber (Grass and Understory)
Timber (Litter and Understory)
The fire has primarily been burning in non-compacted cured grasses and dead/downed timber fuels.
- GR2; cured, low load, dry climate grass in previously burned high severity areas
- TU5; very high load, dry climate timber shrub on western aspect drainages
- TL3; moderate load Ponderosa pine litter
- TL8; mixed conifer with woody detritus
Decrease in acreage due to more accurate GPS mapping of the fire perimeter.
Continued smoldering and smoke in hotspots and the Little Bear fire scar. Dead and down material is consuming within the fire perimeter.
Division Z/A will monitor and utilize appropriate tactics where needed to engage the fire.
Division D/G/X will monitor from vantage points and air and utilize appropriate tactics where needed to
engage the fire.
|Projected Incident Activity|
Continued burning out of isolated smoldering areas. No perimeter growth is expected
Seasonal temperatures, low humidity and high winds are expected.
Smoldering in individual pockets of heat - primarily within the upper reaches of Big Bear Canyon, on the eastern aspect of the South Fork of Rio Bonito, and the small area of heat in the saddle above Indian Creek.
Smoldering in individual pockets of heat - primarily within the upper reaches of Big Bear Canyon and the small area of heat in the saddle above Indian Creek.
Anticipated after 72 hours:
Smoldering in individual pockets of heat - primarily within the upper reaches of
Big Bear Canyon and the small area of heat in the saddle above Indian Creek.
Block #17: Fire is in Lincoln and Otero Counties
Thunderstorms expected over the next few days, with the possibility of dry lightning and gusty winds.