Ruidoso residents concerned about fire escape plans

Posted at: 08/05/2013 6:47 PM
By: Lauren Hansard, KOB Eyewitness News 4

The Upper Canyon in Ruidoso is a high risk location for a wildfire.  Some residents are concerned if a fire did break out, they could be trapped because there is only one road in and out of the canyon.

Living in the Upper Canyon in Ruidoso is beautiful.

“It was in the 50’s last night, and nature is all around us," said Upper Canyon resident Ernest Powell.

But for Powell, it is also nerve wracking.

“Because the investment in these homes up here is enormous, and under the circumstances with only one way in and one way out of this canyon, they can't get the equipment in here to fight a fire, all they can do is to evacuate us and watch us burn," said Powell.

A one lane bridge is what Powell drives across to get to his home.  The Mayor said they have a three lane bridge in Phoenix; they’re just waiting for the funds to pay for it.

"We were promised new bridges, and that they would be here no later than 2009. Ok, what year are we? Where are the new bridges?" said Powell.

“He did confirm to me that it is in Phoenix.  It's a three lane bridge, but when we get the money I don't know," said Ruidoso Mayor Ray Alborn.

When KOB Eyewitness News 4 asked the mayor how much that bridge would cost, he couldn’t tell us.  The bridge would provide two lanes for traffic and one lane for emergency vehicles.  That would help in a crisis.  But if a fire strikes, there is still only one way out of the canyon.

People who chose to live here knew that.  They said a bigger bridge would help them sleep easier during fire season. 

There has been talk of building another road out of the canyon.  That would be expensive.  The mayor said he would like the Upper Canyon residents to come up with a plan for that.