FBI offers reward for information about deadly New Mexico wildfires

Updated

The FBI on Saturday offered a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to an arrest and conviction in connection with the deadly New Mexico wildfires.

The federal agency, which said it's still looking to identify the cause of the South Fork Fire and Salt Fire, suggested a person might be responsible for the blaze, which began on June 17. The reward is for help in finding a "person or persons responsible for starting the fires."

The South Fork fire is 7% contained while the Salt fire is just 7% contained, according to the most recent National Interagency Fire Center information. An estimated 24,226 acres have burned and an estimated 1,400 structures were lost to the fires, according to a state wildfire dashboard.

The FBI released images of the New Mexico wildfires. / Credit: FBI
The FBI released images of the New Mexico wildfires. / Credit: FBI

The state has confronted more than just fires in the last week; New Mexico's also dealt with a dust storm and catastrophic flooding. It's been a "hell of a week here," New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said on "Face the Nation" on Sunday.

Wildfires consume vegetation and leave behind burn scars: areas covered in soot, ash and charred stumps and stems. Weather experts last year explained to CBS News that areas downstream and downhill from burn scars are very susceptible to flash flooding.

There have been several confirmed emergency rescues from flash flooding, Grisham previously said in a briefing. The National Weather Service on Saturday said the risk of flash flooding would continue over the next several days.

President Biden on Thursday issued a disaster declaration because of the New Mexico wildfires. The declaration freed up funding for recovery efforts.

Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Deanne Criswell was on the ground in Ruidoso on Saturday, days after residents evacuated. She said on social media that communities there "have our support for as long as it takes to recover."

New Mexico State Police reported Wednesday that it had confirmed two fire-related deaths in Ruidoso.

So far this year, 19,444 wildfires have burned 2,161,787 acres, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.

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