Albuquerque bosque fire
June 25, 2003 10:46 PM   Subscribe

The Albuquerque Bosque is on fire. Bosque is spanish for woods that grow along a river bank and these woods are within feet of homes of Albuquerque, New Mexico residents. The bosque is along the Rio Grande river that runs through the state's largest city and includes a nature center and towering cottonwood trees that are over 100's of years old. Yesterday and tonight over 1000 acres are going up like a match. The Rio Grande bosque is a state treasure (with a national wild refuge ). We now have seven fires in New Mexico. Albuquerque is losing a natural treasure tonight... very sad to hear this may be arson.
posted by jabo (13 comments total)
Thank goodness our president is dedicated to selling, er, preserving our national forests through the use of clearcutting!
posted by squirrel at 1:31 AM on June 26, 2003

True squirrel...the bosque never woulda burned if those trees had been "harvested" like they should have make money for some lumber company. But the lumber companies really, really only care about fire safety, and so they take their profit reluctantly as a public service to us all. You know.

posted by fold_and_mutilate at 2:11 AM on June 26, 2003

If it really was arson give the guy a super-soaker and parachute him into the middle of it.

On a separate note some of the harvesting done in forests is actually good for the health of the forest. I'm pretty sure that El Presidente Bush's version isn't, but the problem lies in the way forests are managed. In nature forest fires do occasionally happen but in the process the underbrush and dead material is cleaned out. With improperly managed forests fires are suppressed (in general this is good) but at the same time dead material and underbrush is never cleared out, so when a fire does happen it has lots of fuel to feed itself on (this is bad). Live trees aren't very good fuel, but dead trees are very good fuel.

So a valid form of management is to go into the forest and take out the marginal trees before they have a chance to become fuel. It's not fair defining marginal in proportion to the value of the tree however.
posted by substrate at 4:49 AM on June 26, 2003

doesn't this happen anyway? i mean, it's going to look damn ugly for a hundred years, but if people leave it alone, it'll grow back (in our previous house i had to repair some floorboards and had the same strange sense of telescoping time - the old boards were about 100 years old and a completely different colour to the new, almost-green wood - yet in another hundred years i would guess they'll blend right in). here we have some trees that grow like an inch a year and the only way they seem to win out in the evolutionary scheme of things is that every so often all the other trees burn down, while these are so tough they just keep on growing.

curious about the exact meaning of "bosque" - to me (chile) it means just "wood". is the river bank part an american thing? or a spanish-spanish thing? or is my latin-american-spanish simply not that good?
posted by andrew cooke at 5:04 AM on June 26, 2003

The bosque will heal eventually just as Yellowstone is continuing to grow back from it's major burn in the late 1980s. The problem with the Albuquerque burn is that the bosque runs through the middle of town. When the fires started, the city had to shut down I-40 for several hours. They've been evacuating neighborhoods to save as many people as possible. Fortunately only a few firefighters have been injured and those wounds are minor. Here are some images of last night's blaze. The fact that the American South West has been in drought conditions for several years now and everything is just so dry.
posted by onhazier at 6:01 AM on June 26, 2003

Bosque = forest, woods, nothing more.

Just as "sombrero" just means hat, not a particular kind of hat.

Sorry, pet peeve time.
posted by signal at 6:15 AM on June 26, 2003

pet peeve time

"Rio Grande river" is redundant.
posted by norm at 6:36 AM on June 26, 2003

How many acres is the Bosque fire? I looked through the links and couldn't find out. Hope it gets put out soon, jabo. Living here in Colorado, I remember what that's like (remember the Hayman fire?). I'm just surprised we haven't had any big ones this year yet. I expect at least one over the holiday weekend though, with all the people camping and being idiots about fire.
posted by littlegirlblue at 6:50 AM on June 26, 2003

According to some estimates, the Southwest is undergoing a millennial drought, comparable to the one that brought down the Anasazi culture in the 1300s.
posted by gottabefunky at 7:02 AM on June 26, 2003

Bosque = forest, woods, nothing more.

In Albuquerque, we refer to the woods which line the river as The Bosque. Since we live in a desert, it’s the only bosque in town.

How many acres is the Bosque fire?

Local news folks were talking about 600-700 acres for the Atrisco (Tuesday) fire and another 1,000 for last night.

What may not be clear from the national reports is that this is not on the edge of town, but right in the middle.
posted by teo at 7:21 AM on June 26, 2003

Albuquerque is losing a natural treasure tonight...

Albuquerque has been losing a lot more than that given the phenomenal growth it's experienced in the last decade.

And now they want to pave a road though he middle of Petroglyph National Monument.

There seems to be a lack of respect for their own natural treasures.
posted by Qubit at 10:25 AM on June 26, 2003

Pet Peeve time:

"Rio Grande river" is redundant

In Mexico its not called the Rio Grande, its the Rio Bravo del Norte.

There seems to be a lack of respect for their own natural treasures

Who said the petroglphs belonged to the people who want to pave the roads through them? Didn't you say there had been phenomenal growth? Sounds to me like the first waves of European settlers (up to the present) at least had some respect for the Petroglyphs.
posted by Pollomacho at 1:27 PM on June 26, 2003

It's Thursday night here in New Mexico and it seems the fire(s) in the bosque are under control. It's reported that 1200 acres have burned so far and only one home under construction burned down. Teo is correct, the term bosque in Albuquerque refers to the riparian area along the Rio Grande. In other parts of New Mexico bosque refers in general to this type of river environment (lots of cottonwoods, wetlands etc.). Sorry to confuse and peeve those who speak Spanish (I don't). On a similar note, I once met some tourists from Texas that believed Rio Grande meant Big Street; hence the redundancy.

Albuquerque is indeed growing as well as the areas around it (it's a big reason I moved). They built a bridge through the bosque (that was at the center of last night's fire) that many neighbors fought. The governor and mayor are lobbying to overturn an appeals court ruling that the silvery minnow's existence trumps local water rights. They are also struggling to comply with federal air quality standards, such as they are at present. Like any growing metropolitan area, there are people who enjoy living there and fight to protect their natural treasures and are very sad that they have lost 1200 acres of it in 48 hours.

Finally, the bosque is not timber rich and does not offer the profit incentive for El Presidente's forest plan to work there. Drought, declining water supply, nonnative water hogs like salt cedar and the lack of money for proper management have all contributed to this fire. Fires are natural, as substrate points out, but not at this magnitude.

posted by jabo at 9:38 PM on June 26, 2003

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