The Conservation Beat
7:35 pm
Wed June 20, 2012

Romero Fire over 360 acres in bosque north of Albuquerque

UPDATE 6/22 6:00AM: 

A wildfire in a wooded area along the Rio Grande on the northern edge of New Mexico's largest city has charred about 360 acres. Authorities say the fire continues to burn on both the east and west sides of the river but is a combined 50 percent contained.

State Forestry spokesman Dan Ware said Thursday that the Romero fire hasn't burned any structures since it began Wednesday afternoon. Its cause remains under investigation.

Firefighters worked overnight to build containment lines against the fire in an area known around Albuquerque as the Bosque. Crews were helped by lowering temperatures and a slight rise in humidity.

A voluntary evacuation was conducted on Sandia Pueblo due to smoke. Highway 313 now has been reopened and residents may return home as smoke levels recede.

UPDATE 6/21 6:30AM:

From The Albuquerque Journal:

An estimated 30 to 40 structures are said to be threatened, but no homes or buildings have been destroyed so far, the New Mexico Forestry Division has said in its latest report. 

UPDATE 6/21 6:00AM:

Crews are starting to gain the upper hand on a wildfire burning on both sides of a wooded area along the Rio Grande river on Albuquerque's northern edge.

Fire officials say the Romero fire was 70 percent contained on the west side of the river by Wednesday night.

Crews are working to contain the flames on the east side and the fire is moving away from homes.

The fire began about 3:30 Wednesday afternoon and quickly grew to 10 acres and threatened up to 150 structures.  At last report authorities say none has been damaged.

KRQE.com reports the fire is estimated to be over 100 acres along the Bosque... mostly on Sandia Pueblo land, but also about 6 or 7 acres in Corralles.  Crews worked to contain the flames as they approached a gas line near highway 313.

Railrunner Commuter trains are to run on normal schedules today.  Both northbound and sounthbound trains cancelled Wednesday evening due to the fire.

CORRALES, NM -- A fire has been burning in the bosque north of Albuquerque since about 3:30 Wednesday afternoon. According to public information officers with the Albuquerque Fire Department and Sandoval County, the fire started in the western bosque near Romero Road in Corrales, then jumped across the Rio Grande.

"Right now, we have Sandoval County units, Bernalillo County units, state forestry, Albuquerque Fire Department--and BIA is on the west side of the river fighting that fire," says Melissa Romero, Albuquerque Fire Department public information officer.

The east side of the Rio Grande belongs to the Pueblo of Sandia; the west side is in the Village of Corrales.

"There are two separate fires, with no injuries at this time, and there have been evacuations on the east side of the river," says Romero, adding that the fire is currently zero-percent contained.

"We do not know where exactly it starTed and what the cause is at this time," says Romero.

According to Sidney Hill, Sandoval County public information officer, most of the burn activity is occurring on the east side of the bosque.

"Right now, we're not sure if it's still moving in a north-south direction; the main concern over here is to maintain the line to keep it from coming back this way (to the west)," says Hill. "The wind direction in the evening, they're anticipating the wind is going to continue to blow to the east."

Residents seeking shelter for livestock can contact Larry Trujillo with the New Mexico State Fair Grounds at (505) 508-9026.  On the west side of the river, Larrabee Farms and the Corrales Recreation Center are also accepting livestock.

*Please note this a corrected version of the earlier story*