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UPDATED: Little Bear Fire Reaches 34,651 Acres

3:13 p.m. — Two shelters in Capitan and Ruidoso are open for all evacuees of the Little Bear fire, according to a news release from the American Red Cross.

The Capitan Shelter is at Trinity Baptist Church and the Ruidoso one is at the high school, the release said. More than 600 meals have been prepared and served so far, courtesy of the Red Cross, the Southern Baptist Association, the Salvation Army and other local providers.

Cots, blankets, pillows and comfort kits have been delivered to the shelters, and a nurse is on hand in both as well.

The Red Cross urges all evacuees to register either at the shelters or online at, so friends and family can check on loved ones, the release said.


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Pets and livestock can be taken to the fairgrounds in Capitan and to J Bar J Church in Ruidoso. Pet owners can also stay at the church in Ruidoso.

12:09 p.m. — Journal photographer Adolphe Pierre-Louis captured some of the destruction the Little Bear fire has caused near Ruidoso.

View more pictures in tomorrow’s paper. (Story continues below)

A burned SUV at a home located on Wolf Springs Loop near Ruidoso is seen on Monday. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Journal)

10:13 a.m. by the Associated Press — Crews are working to keep the flames of a fast-moving wildfire from getting any closer to one southern New Mexico resort town.

Fire information officer Karen Takai said ground crews will be getting help from water-dropping helicopters today thanks to more favorable weather conditions.

Authorities put Ruidoso residents on notice to be ready to evacuate if conditions worsen. Village spokeswoman Kerry Gladden says evacuations in subdivisions outside the village have already effected at least 2,000 people.

8:09 a.m. — The Little Bear Fire outside of Ruidoso has burned 34,651 acres as of early this morning, according to an overnight infrared report.

The majority of the growth was on the north and south edges of the perimeter, with small expansion in the east, the report said. As of  last night, the fire was zero percent contained.

The lighting-sparked fire grew from 26,000 acres yesterday, when it was more than twice as large as they thought on Saturday.

The Little Bear Fire in the Lincoln National Forest has damaged or destroyed 36 structures in the area so far and prompted evacuations of nearby campgrounds, subdivisions and summer homes.