0512a00

At 5:00 a.m., it was reported that at least 100 homes in Los Alamos had been burned. Shortly after 1:00 a.m., they began evacuating White Rock because of heavy smoke. That's another 7,000 people. Homes in the western area of Espanola had been evacuated because the fire was headed that way. The fire was reported to be six to eight miles from Espanola.

At 6:00 a.m., the fire had burned 18,000 acres. People who had been evacuated from the west area of Espanola were allowed to return home. I can smell smoke, but it's not a strong odor. The wind gusts have already begun. I didn't expect that until this afternoon.

At 7:08 a.m., another fire was reported about 25 miles north of Cuba. People in New Mexico have been extremely generous, offering their homes, space to park campers, places to keep horses, dogs, and other pets, discounts on motel rooms with free breakfasts and other meals, etc. Businesses have been donating thousands of dollars to the Red Cross. The offers have been pouring in constantly. One man telephoned, saying he had 21 acres and offered free board and lodging for anyone who was evacuated from the fire area.

At 10:10 a.m., it was reported that 130 homes in Los Alamos had been completely destroyed. At 11:30 a.m., it was reported that 140 homes had been destroyed. At 12:00 noon, it was announced that Abiquiu grant would be evacuated.

At 12:20 p.m., a pickup truck with a man and a woman drove in. First, they stopped at Ella's and the woman knocked, but got no response. The man went to the homes on Lots 3 and 4 and the woman went to my neighbor's home on Lot 2. The man and woman had some kind of badges on them. They then left without coming here. They must be census takers.

At 12:36 p.m., it was announced that over 20,000 acres had been burned. At 12:45, a man telephoned from Los Alamos and reported that part of the fire was headed toward White Rock. At 12:50 p.m., it was reported that 150 homes had been destroyed. The announcer said that Espanola had been evacuated, but I'm certain that he was mistaken.

At 1:16 p.m., Cindy from the Health Center in Espanola telephoned and cancelled my doctor appointment for my physical tomorrow because of smoke from the fire. At 1:25 p.m., I drove to Espanola. There was some smoke and it was slightly irritating, but the townspeople were going about business as usual. When I returned home, the plume of smoke coming over the mountain was bad again.

At 3:38 p.m., a man called in and said he had seen a huge plume of smoke from another fire somewhere near Storrie Lake, north of Las Vegas, NM.

At 4:56 p.m., a man called in and said that the quads on 45th, 46th, and 47th streets in the Urban Park area were gone. Although most of those buildings are really duplexes, I'm afraid that it is now certain that Denny & Cherryl Mingo's home has been burned up. From previous reports, I suspected it and that has now been confirmed.

It seems that North Mesa (where Don Gettemy lives) is still safe and that the main business area of town east on Trinity from Diamond Drive has been the area of concentration for the fire protection force; i.e. completely protected. One man called in and said that Barranca Mesa was totally engulfed in flames. A few minutes later, another man called in and said that only two houses had been burned there and all the rest of them were OK. Considering the area and locations of the buildings, I don't believe the first report is even possible if the fire fighters are doing anything at all to protect the buildings.

The new houses that were built west of Diamond Drive across from the golf course apparently have all been destroyed. They allowed the trees to be so thick through there that the result seemed to be a reasonable expectation. I thought that was stupid to keep all those trees that way. Tall pine trees so close together that it was difficult to walk through seemed to be an ideal fire fuel situation.

The greatest threat to my location is smoke. It is almost impossible for the fire to get to this area, since the only foliage on the hills west of here is low shrubs, which are easily cleared. I think I'll just sit tight and put up with the smoke. I did when we had the fire northwest of us last year, but the smoke was really bad then. So I may have to go on oxygen, which I have a limited supply of, so I'll have to ration it.

Shortly after 6 p.m., my brother Dan telephoned and invited me to go down to his place, near Ruidoso. What? Go from the edge of one fire to the middle of another fire? Is he joking? Dan also said another fire had been spotted near Cimarron.

At 6:57 p.m., a man called in and said he had spotted a fire southwest of Santa Fe. (Huh? Is this "Goodbye, New Mexico."? Well, it took 70 years to convince the rest of the United States that New Mexico was not a foreign country.) At 7:19 p.m., a truck driver called in and confirmed that there was a fire about a mile west of the Santa Fe race track, a mile south of the highway.

At 7:08 p.m., a man called in and said there was a controlled burn near the Grand Canyon in Arizona that had gotten out of control. (Gonna get the whole Southwest, huh?)

At 7:14, a man called in from the Springer area in northeast New Mexico and said the smoke from the Cimarron fire was so thick that they could hardly see and it was difficult to breathe.

At 7:30, they reported that another fire south of Cloudcroft had burned about 100 acres. (About the only thing left is the Silver City area in southwest New Mexico.)

At 7:45 p.m., it was reported that the Ruidoso fire was pretty well under control, but the Cloudcroft fire was out of control.

At 8:00 p.m., the radio station rotated its antenna to point toward Oregon as usual and I could no longer pick up a signal.

12th: The Cloudcroft fire is now being called the Scott-Able Fire. It has burned about 8,000 acres. The Los Alamos fire has burned 28,000 acres and about 180 homes. If the weather remains calm like it is, they will be able to use the slurry bombers to get the fire under control today. They did not mention the Ruidoso fire.