Tumbleweed takeover worries neighbors

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – The storm that hit New Mexico this weekend made a bad situation even worse for a group of homeowners in Valencia County.

Marilyn Frazer says her home is now buried in tumbleweeds.

She says it’s not uncommon for tumbleweeds to blow onto her property, but for the past month-and-a-half, it’s been especially bad.

Frazer also says her home is among dozens of homes in the Chamisa subdivision of Rio Communities now buried in tumbleweeds.

The dry conditions are also a worry.

”It is such a volatile situation. I am really in fear that this subdivision is going to go up – all the homes are going to burn this summer,” Frazer said. “This whole subdivision can literally go up in smoke we could all lose our homes.”

She says as soon as she and her son get the tumbleweeds cleared out, they come right back.

“I have removed them and removed them and removed them,” Marilyn Frazer said. “I feel like I’m living in a death trap.”

Frazer says she’s had no luck getting help from local officials, and that the situation got really bad during the weekend storm. She turned to the mayor, Mark Gwinn, for help.

He says he rounded up some volunteers this past weekend hoping to help clean things up.

“Did that take care of this problem? No,” Gwinn said. “It just touched the tip of the iceberg basically.”

But Frazer says they did little, if anything, to help homes like hers that are buried.

“They wouldn’t come on to personal property,” Frazer said.

Mayor Gwinn says city help is limited to public property, so the tumbleweeds need to be moved to someplace like the curb.

Frazer says she simply can’t do that.

And with Rio Communities being a young city, only 7 months old, there’s also concern over whether they’re even equipped to handle this problem.

“If we have a fire out here, they’re going to have more problems than they do with just a few tumbleweeds,” neighbor Bill Randall said.

Until they’re able to beef up their resources, Mayor Gwinn says it’s going to come down to the people banding together.

“This community is made up of a lot of volunteers and that’s what it’s going to take to alleviate that situation.”

Rio Communities has been working with a neighborhood association in the area to organize clean-up efforts. A dumpster delivered over the weekend, but filled up in just a matter of hours.

Some neighbors KRQE News 13 spoke to say some people are starting to burn tumbleweeds and that has a lot of people worried.

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