FBI Announces $10,000 Reward for Info on Who Started Deadly New Mexico Wildfires

A charred car and the remains of the Swiss Chalet Hotel are pictured after being destroyed
AP Photo/Andres Leighton

The FBI is offering a monetary reward for information leading to those responsible for the pair of New Mexico wildfires that killed two people in the past week.

Emergency shelters and mass evacuation processes had to be set up after two fires broke out near Ruidoso last Monday, leading to apocalyptic scenes.

By the next morning, 19,000 acres had been burned, along with more than 500 homes and multiple businesses. 

Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) declared a state of disaster in the area on Tuesday and deployed National Guard units, Breitbart News reported. 

The entire town of approximately 8,000 people was evacuated, and neither fire was fully contained by Saturday morning, according to the Associated Press. 

New Mexico State Police said two bodies were discovered the day after the fires began, according to FOX 10 Phoenix. 

The first victim, who remains unidentified, was found inside a burned vehicle. The second has been named as 60-year-old Patrick Pearson, who was reportedly discovered on the side of the road near his home. 

“The FBI is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for starting the fires near Ruidoso, New Mexico,” the bureau said in a statement

The FBI’s Albuquerque Field Office said they are working with local, state, federal, and tribal partners in the ongoing investigation of the fires, known as the South Fork Fire and Salt Fire.

“Law enforcement officials are asking for the public’s assistance in identifying the cause of these fires,” officials stated.

President Joe Biden issued a disaster declaration for the southern New Mexico region on Thursday, freeing up funding for more emergency resources.


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