Hotshot crews monitoring fire danger

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The fire danger is the highest it’s been all year, which is why crews have come from all over the country to watch over the Sandias, and do what they can to prevent a wildfire from sparking.

The dry heat mixed with high winds and no moisture, is a recipe for a wildfire.

Hotshot crews are out thinning trees, dry brush, and patrolling the Sandias in David Canyon.

“Right now we’re working about a 10 hour day,” said Holly Miller, Engine Captain for the Sandia Ranger District.

Local crews are working alongside the Midewin Hotshot Crew from illinois. There’s an engine from Montana, and a crew in town from Taos.

“We have an agreement with the northern states, so in our fire season they come down and help us and then in their fire season later on in August, we go up and help them,” explained Miller.

The fire danger is very high, and fire restrictions are in place. The goal, Miller said, is to reduce the risk and intensity if a wildfire does hit the area.

Hotshots are moving slash from the outside in, so that when a fire does come, it’ll be much easier for firefighters to tackle. They’re working an 1,800 acre block, and clearing a path for controlled burns in the Sandias.

“We’ve already done some thinning in here and the prescribed burn will help reduce the fuels on the ground, so if a fire does come through here, it will hopefully be less intense,” said Miller.

With the hot weather and lack of moisture, fire crews are ready to pounce. They tackle tough projects in the morning, and go out into the community to make sure residents are prepared.

“We’re in very high fire danger right now, it is very dry, so we want to be out there talking to folks make sure that there’s no campfires right now, so we’re just patrolling and making sure of that,” explained Miller.

New Mexico has seen it’s share of wildfires, and the devastation they can bring. Crews say help is here until the monsoon season takes over.

Fire crews from out of state are working two-week stints in the mountains, and then they rotate. They’re prepared to do that until some rain comes. The last measurable amount of rain the metro received was more than a month ago, and it was only about a quarter-of-an-inch.

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