TIMBERON, N.M. (KBIM-KRQE) - A forest fire of unknown origin continues to rage in theSacramento Mountains forcing some residents of Timberon to flee forsafety and burning several buildings possibly including homes.
At last report Thursday morning, officials had revised theirestimates of the fire's size to 60 to 80 acres with no containment.Three to five structures had burned, but officials couldn't confirmif any of those buildings were homes, and another six to eightstructures were immediately threatened.
Twenty homes were evacuated. The American Red Cross has set upan evacuation center at Cloudcroft High School.
The fire settled down somewhat overnight, according to thereport, but still remained quite active.
On Wednesday, the fire was reported to be crowning through thetreetops.
"The homes that are the most in danger are in the west-southwestportion of this village," State Forestry spokesperson Dan Ware toldKRQE News 13. "We're talking a lot of spread-out homes andstructures."
The flames may have consumed three or four homes, according toinformation from a Timberon resident relayed to News 13 by arelative. The fire began about 1:30 p.m. on a clear day suggestingit is human-caused, the resident said.
There have been no reports of injuries.
Timberon sits at about 7,100 feet elevation in the Sacramentos25 miles southeast of Alamogordo and on the southern boundary ofthe Lincoln National Forest. About 300 people live there.
Late in the evening the American Red Cross reported 15 residentshad checked into a shelter set up at Cloudcroft High School 30miles north of the fire zone.
Timberon resident Rocky Norris said he had two SUVs, a camperand a trailer packed and ready to evacuate. Norris also postedvideo of smoke rising above the trees on his Norris Family Web site .
"Pack it up and get ready to get out of here because it's comingthrough," Norris says on one of the video clips. "As dry as it iswith no moisture and everything, it makes no sense for anybody tostick around."
It was not clear if Norris stayed the night or followed NewMexico State Police advice to evacuate the community.
KRQE Chief Meteorologist Mark Ronchetti called the moisturedeficit in the Timberon area "staggering." On average by this timeof year Timberon should have received more than 5.5 inches ofprecipitation, but this year has received barely 1 inch, 81 percentbelow the average, he said.
The forecast for Thursday is a high of 85 degrees with westwinds of 15-25 mph, he said.
During daylight two heavy air tankers worked the fire, and twoadditional planes have been ordered. Aerial tankers often arestationed at the Alamogordo airport during fire season although itis not know if these are among them.
The Timberon Volunteer Fire Department was incommand on the scene with a U.S. Forest Service
Crews from area fire departments, the Forest Service and StateForestry have been battling the fire.
The fire also is being discussed in an
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