SILVER CITY, N.M. (KRQE) - Firefighters working through the night tallied at least 12 homes destroyed on the southern edge of Silver City Monday as a wildfire tore into a residential area and continued to spread.
Dubbed the Quail Ridge Fire, the blaze roared to life near State Road 90 around 2:30 p.m. driven by 30 mph winds and gusts as high as 50 mph that pushed into a residential area called Silver Acres.
About 100 homes were evacuated with 60 people reported to have taken shelter at the Grant County Civic Center where the Red Cross and other emergency services were providing cots and food. All escaped safely although two firefighters were reported to have suffered minor injuries.
Reports from the scene indicated the fire consumed as many as 15 homes plus other structures.
By evening the fierce winds had begun to calm although they are forecast to strengthen in the morning. The respite gave firefighters a chance to make progress against the flames, and crews were expecting to work through the night.
The last estimate put the size of the fire at 1,770 acres
"Everything is black: it's just burnt everywhere along there," volunteer firefighter Henrietta Hovarter, who was delivering food to the fire crews, said. "There's a lot of houses that have been engulfed. A lot of spot fires."
Earlier in the afternoon New Mexico State Forestry reported the fire appeared to be human-caused but provided no details.
Earlier Quail Ridge Fire Updates:
Tueday - 8:04 a.m. - An Albuquerque Fire Department engine left this morning with four firefighters for Silver City to help contain the fire and to provide structure protection.
Tuesday - 6:53 a.m. - The last report from the New Mexico State Forestry was that the fire was 1,770 acres and was "laying down considerably" -- which means the fire activity was lessening. The fire crews were able to get a lot of work done on building containment lines overnight. NMSF has not heard anything on the remaining evacuations or on a containment percentage, but will alert the media when they find one out.
Monday - 8:50 p.m. - The Quail Ridge Fire has destroyed 10-15 structures, many of them homes, and continues to grow south of Silver City.
The Quail Ridge Fire south of Silver City has slowed its spread but continues to move south, according to the New Mexico Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. The department is sending emergency managers to the scene to aid in the fight.
Crews will continue fighting the fire throughout the night. Officials will have their next update early Tuesday morning when high winds are forecast to return.
As many as 100 homes have been evacuated, and numerous roads in the area east of State Road 90 are closed to public access.
In addition to the shelter at the Grant County Convention Center, livestock and animals are being moved to the Horseman's Arena.
Monday - 7:05 p.m. - News 13 pilot-reporter Bob Martin in Skyranger flew over the Quail Ridge Fire late Monday afternoon sending back graphic video of the flames churning through a residential area south of Silver City.
Monday - 6:55 p.m. - The American Red Cross Southwestern Chapter reports about 60 people have arrived at the evacuation center in the Grant County Civic Center. Red Cross volunteers from the Silver City area and Deming are on the scene assisting with a trailer containing cots and other supplies. Red Cross volunteers in Las Cruces are on standby to join the effort, Chapter community manager Melanie Mitchard said.
Monday - 6:15 p.m. - The Quail Ridge fire estimates 500 to 1,000 acres and 10 to 15 structures destroyed. The fire is moving toward the Rosedale subdivision, which has been evacuated.
Strong winds are still pushing the fire. Crews are providing structure protection, dealing with spot fires and dousing homes that may be catching fire
Monday - 4:45 p.m. - the Quail Ridge Fire has destroyed five homes off of State Highway 90 near Tyrone and is currently estimated at 500 acres.
Fire officials say about 50 people have been evacuated.
The fire department is working on evacuating people and livestock.
Monday - 3:11 p.m. - A wind-driven wildfire has threatened numerous structures and forced evacuations near Silver City, New Mexico State Forestry is reported.
Strong winds are still pushing the fire. Crews are providing structure protection, dealing with spot fires and dousing homes that may be catching fire.
Grant County sheriff's deputies are handling evacuations of homes in an area south of Silver City and west of Quail Ridge Road.
The Quail Ridge Fire started about 2:30 p.m. and was estimated at 50 acres. It is believed to be human-caused and is spreading through grass, bear grass and scrub oak, according to State Forestry.
Winds from the west reported at 30 mph with higher gusts. The fire is continuing to grow although State Forestry reports drainages in the area are slowing its progress.
City Fire Department reported as many as 100 homes on the east side of Ridge Road were evacuated. An evacuation center has been established at the Grant County Civic Center.
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