Hurricane-force winds drive destructive wildfires in New Mexico

The McBride Fire near Ruidoso, New Mexico forced several schools to evacuate

RUIDOSO, New Mexico – Ideal conditions for rapidly spreading wildfires impacted parts of the Desert Southwest on Tuesday, causing firefighters to have difficulty containing several large blazes in New Mexico.

Resources on the ground and in the air worked the Nogal Canyon and the McBride fires, but wind gusts of more than 70 mph and the low humidity caused the blazes to spread rapidly. 

Firefighters said the McBride Fire destroyed several homes around Ruidoso, NM and burned more than 4,000 acres.

Several schools around the town were evacuated, and children were sent to the Ruidoso Convention Center for reunification for families.

Officials estimated at least 150 structures have been destroyed by the flames.

The Nogal Canyon Fire was burning in Lincoln National Forest and, at last check, destroyed more than 100 acres.

The Village of Ruidoso warned residents that the strong winds caused numerous power outages and potential water pressure issues.


"I've lived here 15 years and have seen many large fires, evacuated twice, yet have not experienced a wind event like this before," resident Eugene Heathman said.

The area was under a high wind warning and fire weather alerts when the blazes started.

So far, investigators have not determined what started the fires.

Weather conditions are expected to remain favorable for wildfires to rapidly develop and spread through at least Wednesday.