RUIDOSO, N.M. (KRQE) – Ruidoso students returned to school Tuesday after being closed due to the McBride fire that broke out last week. When the flames from the McBride fire started approaching the schools, students in Ruidoso were in the middle of state testing.

More than 1,700 students were safely evacuated many leaving their cars and other items behind. “The windows turned red from the fire. And as we were there, it turned red. And then we started to smell the wood-burning outside,” said eighth-grader Zachary Friberg at Ruidoso Middle School.

Students and staff returned to the classroom Tuesday relieved, but also in shock at what they all went through. “I have a lot of friends whose houses were burnt down… It was scary,” said Friberg.

While the fire reached the doorstep of the schools, Ruidoso Superintendent Dr. George Bickert says they got lucky and there was no damage. “I’m sure particularly at the middle school, there may be some smell of smoke, which is a little unpleasant,” said Dr. Bickert. “So that’ll be something that our students have to get used to and we’ll do our best to mitigate that as we move forward. But in terms of damages, there’s not.”

Dr. Bickert says their main concern Tuesday is making sure students and staff feel safe. “The big thing we are worried about is the students and staff that have lost property and have lost everything can come back to school in the best way possible.”

While each school will have additional counselors on site. Students are just happy to be back.

The state tests the students were taking when the fire broke out will be rescheduled.