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Mayor Tim Keller Tours Bosque, Urges Extreme Caution in Wake of High Fire Danger

Near record high temperatures, consistent dry conditions leave Albuquerque's Open Space in fragile state.

June 25, 2018

Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller joined city officials from Albuquerque Fire Rescue (AFR) and the Parks and Recreation Department to tour a portion of the Bosque near the location of several recent fires. With near record high temperatures and a lack of moisture in the forecast, the fire danger in the Bosque and the foothills open space properties is currently set at Very High. If the current conditions persist and the fire danger level is raised to Extreme, the city will begin to implement closures in the Bosque and other open space properties around the city.

“The threat of fire in Albuquerque’s open spaces, especially right here in the Bosque, is very real,” stated Mayor Tim Keller. “We are actively patrolling these areas to ensure we can respond quickly if a fire is sparked. AFR will continue its open space patrols, and our Open Space crews are removing dry brush and other materials that could fuel a fire. We’re calling on everyone in the city to stay vigilant and alert authorities if you see smoke, fire, or any suspicious activities on our open space lands, especially as we approach the 4th of July holiday.”

“Today, we are moving to Stage 2 fire restrictions,” stated AFR Chief Paul Dow. “The only major changes are no smoking inside vehicles, no operating chainsaws or spark-emitting equipment, and no vehicles may operate off established roadways in the Bosque and open space. The Bosque and open space properties will remain open to the public.”

AFR began Open Space Patrols on May 26. These patrols allow AFR resources to be pre-positioned on open space lands to help respond quickly in the event of a fire and to contain them before they grow in intensity. Patrols will continue until the Albuquerque metro-area sees consistent rain and conditions improve.

AFR will also be staffing four additional wildland firefighting apparatus on Independence Day. These units will conduct patrols and respond to wildland fires within the City. The City’s fireworks ordinance prohibits the sale and use of all aerial fireworks and ground audible devices within the city limits. Residents found in violation of the ordinance may face a fine of up to $500 and 90 days in jail.

In addition to AFR’s efforts, the Parks and Recreation Open Space Division continues its work to remove fuel loads from the Bosque to reduce the threat of fire. During the summer months, crews use hand tools to remove noxious weeds and other invasive species that are more likely to fuel a fire. They are often replaced with native grasses and plants to support a healthy ecosystem in and around the Bosque.