Firefighters battle 30-acre blaze in the bosque - Albuquerque Journal

Firefighters battle 30-acre blaze in the bosque

 

Part of the bosque can be seen going up in flames on the west side of the Rio Grande south of the Montaño bridge on Wednesday evening. The fire had grown to 30 acres by Wednesday night. (Roberto E. Rosales/ Albuquerque Journal)
An injured porcupine emerges from the flames near the west part of the bosque just south of the Montaño bridge on Wednesday evening. The porcupine appeared to have made its way away from the blaze. (Roberto E. Rosales/ Albuquerque Journal)
An APD hovercraft vehicle is seen stationed on the west banks of the Rio Grande as flames erupt in the bosque just south of the Montaño bridge Wednesday evening. The fire would eventually jump the river and reach the east side of the Bosque. (Roberto E. Rosales/ Albuquerque Journal)

Firefighters worked into Wednesday night battling a large blaze in the Rio Grande bosque on both sides of the river near Coors and Montaño.

The fire had grown to 30 acres and was burning on both sides of the river at one point, south of the bridge, said Tom Ruiz, an Albuquerque Fire Rescue spokesman.

He said no structures were threatened and nobody was injured in the blaze. Ruiz did not give a cause of the fire.

Confusion ensued Wednesday night when an apparent miscommunication led the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office to order evacuations for all residents between Montaño and Candelaria.

The agency lifted the evacuation order soon after, but not before local television stations sent out alerts announcing them.

Ruiz said an Albuquerque police officer initially called in the fire around 5:45 p.m. after seeing smoke on the west side of the river. The wind-driven fire quickly grew and jumped to the east side, he said.

Ruiz said Bernalillo County firefighters had contained the smaller fire on the east side by 7:30 p.m. and AFR had stopped the forward momentum on the larger blaze on the west side.

Wednesday’s blaze came a little more than a week after police said a woman with mental illness lit 12 fires across 5 acres in the bosque south of the National Hispanic Cultural Center. Those fires, set on May 18, were quickly snuffed out by fire crews from several different agencies.

At the time, Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller said the city wouldn’t be closing the bosque — a roughly 20-mile-long riparian forest — because it’s safer to have people around who can call in suspicious activity.

“What we want is more people using it, coming down here and calling right away if they see anything,” he told reporters after that incident.

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