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Updated: Wednesday, 13 Jun 2012, 5:13 PM MDT
Published : Wednesday, 13 Jun 2012, 4:21 PM MDT
RUIDOSO, N.M. (KRQE) - The Little Bear Fire has scorched more than 37,000 acres and destroyed 224 homes.
Crews are working on damage assessment Wednesday and are compiling a list so they can notify people about the status of their properties.
“I had pretty much resigned myself to the fact that if the wind kept blowing I would not have a home,” Ray Barela said.
Ray Barela has lived near Bonita Lake for 17 years and was evacuated Friday night.
Saturday afternoon, he got a call from a firefighter friend who was working in the canyon.
Barela's home was gone.
“It feels like you've got a wound that nobody can heal,” Barela said. “With time you have to look at it that way time will heal that wound.”
Barela had just finished radiation treatments for prostate cancer. In March he survived his fourth heart attack.
”According to my doctor, I did flat line twice and I just feel lucky, I feel like if I made it through that, I can make it through this one too,” Barela said. “My dog is alive, he's my buddy and we'll make it.”
He hasn't been able to see the destruction yet, but friends and family are helping him through this.
”Just hearing their voices and I think the fact that they hear mine and know that I’m okay helps a lot,” Barela said.
As he comes to terms with the loss, while others wait for news about their homes, Barela said his thoughts are with those battling the blaze.
”I cannot imagine a firefighter up there on those ridges in the middle of the night…so our hats are off to them and our prayers with them and their families,” Barela said. “They’re a bunch of brave men and women. They're out heroes.”
Two firefighters have suffered minor injuries, both related to the heat.
Emergency crews say people can call 575-258-6900 about their property.