Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

City Learns From Bosque Blazes.(Final)

Byline: Chris Vogel Journal Staff Writer

Officials Say Training Key, But More Equipment Needed

Be prepared. That philosophy may have helped Albuquerque survive last week's bosque fires, officials say.

Though the June 24-25 blazes together charred about 350 acres, no one was seriously hurt and only one unoccupied home was destroyed.

But lessons were learned.

"Everything went fairly smoothly," said Lt. John Garcia, the Albuquerque firefighters union president. "But I won't lie, there were some bumps in the road."

Those included too few off-road fire trucks, a dearth of proper gear, failing radios, power outages, coordination snags at the outset of the fires and difficulty circumventing the numerous jetty jacks -- X-shaped metal planks connected by wires to help control riverbank erosion -- strewn throughout the bosque.

Albuquerque Fire Chief Robert Ortega called the roughly 40,000 jetty jacks "probably the most dangerous part of fighting a fire in the bosque." He said they blocked escape routes and made moving throughout the bosque strenuous and trying. …

Log in to your account to read this article – and millions more.