Fires drive more wildlife into Ruidoso

Fires drive more wildlife into Ruidoso

While these wildfires keep burning, the people in the community can expect to see wildlife in more common areas.

While the South Fork and Salt wildfires keep burning, it’s not just structures and houses that were lost in the Village of Ruidoso, but the homes of wildlife in the area.

It’s not uncommon to see elk, wild horses, or even a bear in Ruidoso. As wildfires ripped through the area, some were concerned about these animals. But experts say they should be adapted to wildfires.

“Animals in New Mexico have been adapted to deal with wildfires as part of their natural dynamic. Our plant-animal communities are pretty resilient to fire,” said Melissa Garnett, a spokesperson with the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish.

Garnett says residents should expect to see more animals.

“In times of fire like this, those ranges can be temporarily, changed. so we’re seeing more animals in town.”

Residents in the area told me they had seen an increase in wildlife.

Garnett says as wildlife moves to new areas, they’re using the roadways and warns people to be extra careful. “There’s also been some reports, wildlife-vehicle collisions that have come in. People need to use extra caution when they are driving”

She says there is no telling how many animals are displaced, but says it’s going to take some time.

“It’s still very early. there’s, it’s going to take some time to get the full environmental impact of this fire. and our conservation experts will assess the impact of this fire and any post-fire recovery that is needed. But not until after the fire has been fully extinguished,” said Garnett.

If you see an injured animal, contact the New Mexico Game and Fish Information Center.