(click for larger image)
At about 4:00 Thursday afternoon the Skates Fire, after spreading almost two miles from its position this morning, breached a hand-cut fireline. According to fire officials, about 50 structures in the Lake Roberts/Sapillo Creek area were threatened by the fire, though none were destroyed thanks to the hard work of fire personnel.
About 200 residents were asked to evacuate the area, though none were forced to leave. Law enforcement personnel, along with workers with the NM Department of Transportation, set up three roadblocks to facilitate the evacuation and prevent others from entering the area.
Grant County Sheriff’s Department deputies, along with the state police, dispacthed 20 two-man teams to the evacuation area to go door-to-door asking residents to leave. The task continued through 9 p.m.
The fire grew by about 60 percent today, whipped by wind gusting to 40 mph. The high winds prevented fire personnel from calling on aerial tanker support, and helicopters were grounded as well. A spokesperson said similar winds are expected tomorrow.
Residents were evacuated to San Lorenzo Elementary School, where the Grant County Red Cross established an emergency shelter.
See today’s Silver City Daily Press for more information.