The Little Bear Fire, ignited June 4, has become the most destructive fire to homeowners in New Mexico's history, said Dave Shell, a public information officer with the Forest Service.

The previous record holder, the Cerro Grande Fire of 2000, burned 235 homes.
The Little Bear Fire has destroyed 242 residences or commercial buildings and 12 outbuildings, so far.

As of this morning the fire was 60 percent contained and had burned approx. 38,116 acres, according to New Mexico Fire Info.

The agency also reports area closures are the entire White Mountain Wilderness, and that portion of the Smokey Bear District south of US 380 to the Mescalero Apache Reservation boundary including a large area east and north of Ruidoso to the south boundary of the Fort Stanton Recreation Area.

Crews will begin burning out fuel inside the containment line north and west of Rio Bonito subdivision today. Burning will be accomplished by both ground and aerial ignition. The burnout is low intensity fire intended to consume understory vegetation, robbing the fire of fuel. Burnout has been employed on this fire with great success.

This operation will create a large volume of smoke this afternoon into late evening. Smoke will likely drift to the southeast. Burnout will continue for several days within the White Mountain Wilderness.

Activity on the remainder of the fire will consist of patrol, mop up, and chipping of slash. Release of excess resources continues, making these resources available for other assignments.

All subdivisions except Angus and Bonita Park are now open. Ski Run Road and Bonita Lake are open to residents only. Residents returning to their homes should be alert for fire vehicle traffic, and wet or damaged roads as a result of Sunday's storms.

Many residents of the community have expressed interest in making monetary donations to the firefighting organizations. Local fire departments should be considered first. Additionally, the following websites provide avenues for making donations:, and