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Ruidoso tourism takes a hit following the McBride fire, visitors now flocking to the village

<i>KOAT</i><br/>One of New Mexico's most popular tourist destinations experienced a devastating fire come through in April — burning more than 200 homes. Tourism declined after the fire
KOAT
KOAT
One of New Mexico's most popular tourist destinations experienced a devastating fire come through in April — burning more than 200 homes. Tourism declined after the fire

By Stella Sun

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    RUIDOSO, New Mexico (KOAT) — One of New Mexico’s most popular tourist destinations experienced a devastating fire come through in April — burning more than 200 homes. Tourism declined after the fire, but two months later, it’s bouncing back.

The village of Ruidoso is nestled in the Sierra Blanca mountains. New Mexicans and out-of-staters enjoy visitng Ruiodoso because of the abundant wildlife, lakes and mountain scenery.

“We offer the fishing, the boats, the wibits (water inflatables), the whole nine yards. Family-friendly environment,” Jason Seidenberger, the co-owner of the Dam House, said.

But when the McBride fire ignited on April 12, “I would absolutely say we had a lull after the fire,” Seidenberger said.

Business slowed down at the Dam House, a food and boat rental shop by the lake.

“It’s to be expected. It’s a tragic event that happens,” Seidenberger said.

More than 200 homes perished in the McBride fire. But when tragedy strikes, the village comes together.

“It was overwhelming. What that did is it brought us together. We’re all neighbors and we look out for one another,” Ruidoso Mayor Lynn Crawford said.

After the fire got knocked out, the lull in tourism bounced back.

“Businesses have picked up. I’ve talked to many hotels that are at 90 to 95 percent occupancy. They’re full,” Crawford said.

Many choose to enjoy the lake.

“We’re seeing anywhere from probably 2,000 to 3,000 people coming in a week,” Seidenberger said.

Many in Ruidoso rely on tourism for their income. As parts of the community rebuild after the fire, locals say the best way to support is to get some rest and relaxation in Ruidoso.

“Come live in nature’s paradise. It’s wonderful down here,” Seidenberger said.

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