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The FBI is offering a reward for any information regarding the deadly wildfires in southern New Mexico

House destroyed by the fire (Via Devon Finch/Shutterstock)

Federal authorities are offering a reward for information on the individuals who started two wildfires in New Mexico that resulted in two deaths and the destruction of hundreds of homes in the past week.

The FBI announced on Saturday a reward of up to $10,000 for any details related to the South Fork Fire and Salt Fire in southern New Mexico, which forced numerous evacuations.

In a statement, the agency appealed to the public for help in determining the cause of the fires near Ruidoso, New Mexico, which were first reported on June 17. The notice strongly indicated human involvement, specifying that the reward is for information leading to the arrest and conviction of “the person or persons responsible for starting the fires.”

Charred trees because of the fire (Via Devon Finch/Shutterstock)

As of Saturday, the South Fork Fire had burned 26 square miles and was 26% contained, while the Salt Fire had consumed 12 square miles with 7% containment, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. Full containment of both fires was not anticipated until July 15.

Recent rainfall and cooler temperatures have aided over 1,000 firefighters in their efforts to contain the fires. Crews took advantage of favorable weather conditions on Saturday, using bulldozers to create protective lines and hand crews employing shovels in more rugged terrain around Ruidoso.

Meanwhile, heavy rain and flash flood warnings in other parts of New Mexico led to mandatory evacuations in Las Vegas, New Mexico, and nearby communities north of Albuquerque, approximately 200 miles from Ruidoso. Shelters were set up in Las Vegas for displaced residents, with some evacuation orders still in effect on Saturday.

Although flash flood warnings were lifted on Saturday, the National Weather Service cautioned that afternoon storms could cause excessive runoff and potentially more flooding in the area.

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