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FBI announces $10,000 reward for info on cause of deadly New Mexico fires

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(WASHINGTON) — The FBI is offering a $10,000 reward for information about the cause of fires that killed two people and have destroyed over a thousand structures near Ruidoso, New Mexico.

The FBI on Sunday offered the reward for any information “leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible” for the South Fork and Salt fires, which began June 17.

Anyone with information to share is asked to contact their local FBI office, or call the FBI’s tip line at 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324). The cause of the fires remains unknown.

As of Monday, the fires have consumed an estimated 25,367 acres and 1,400 structures, according to New Mexico state officials, who note the South Fork Fire was 37% contained and the Salt Fire was 7% contained.

Evacuation warnings have been lifted for the South Fork and Salt fires but certain areas remain a “no entry/exclusion zone” due to ongoing recovery efforts by Urban Search and Rescue teams, according to a Village of Ruidoso official update.

“Be prepared for the possibility that your home may be without gas, electricity, and water,” Ruidoso officials further warned.

Currently, the South Fork and Salt fires are staffed with 19 crews, 8 helicopters, 71 engines, 14 bulldozers, and 23 water tenders, according to the state interagency website New Mexico Fire Information.

President Joe Biden on Thursday granted New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s request for a Major Disaster Declaration for the state, freeing federal funds to aid in fire recovery efforts. Gov. Lujan Grisham further signed an executive order authorizing $5.25 million in additional emergency funds to assist the recovery effort.

On Sunday, Gov. Lujan Grisham’s office announced that a Disaster Recovery Center had opened at the Roswell Convention Center in Roswell, about 90 minutes east of the fires, coordinating the efforts of state, federal, local, and county agencies for residents affected by the fires who are in need of assistance.

“Residents can get connected to Disaster Case Management and receive help coordinating both short-term and long-term resources,” Gov. Lujan Grisham’s office said in the announcement.

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