Tumbleweed fire danger worries ABQ neighborhood

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Nearly every corner of New Mexico has beat back loads of problematic tumbleweeds this year.

Now in the height of summer, one Albuquerque neighborhood is worried the nuisance is fast becoming a major fire danger.

The city has cleaned up the giant mound of tumbleweeds near Paseo and Taylor Ranch several times since January. They say it’s a constant battle that they’re trying to get a handle on, but some neighbors are hoping they’ll do more.

Just past Danielsen Morreno’s back gate there’s a flood of neighbors that he never hoped for.

The tumbleweeds pushing on to his property are bad, maybe even the worst they’ve ever seen.

“As far as I can remember, it’s never been too big of an issue before but definitely this year,” said Morreno.

Just like the tumbleweed invasion in Clovis and the one in Rio Communities near Los Lunas, since January, tumbleweeds have been bombarding northwest Albuquerque’s Fairmont Neighborhood near the Petroglyphs National Monument.

The massive mess sits lying in wait and when big wind comes up, it blows right up on to the fence.

“We’ve just been waiting and hoping someone takes care of it,” said Morreno.

Many neighbors are worried about the dry weed mass being so close to their homes.

“Especially with Fourth of July coming up if there’s any fire or anything, someone, something, a cigarette or something could just light up and then it would burn all the way across,” said Morreno.

The city has cleaned it nine times now.

“We’re doing the best we can to clean it up,” said Cindo Griego, equipment operator for the city of Albuquerque’s Open Space division.

On Wednesday, open space crews cleared two dump trucks worth of the weeds. They even got new inmate work crews to help. The clean-up is something many neighbors say they appreciate.

“Yeah we’re really happy about that,” said Morreno.

However, there are still thousands of tumbleweeds left. The city says it can’t constantly clean and doesn’t want to fence out the open space.

Neighbors says they just hope the city will change its mind.

“It’s definitely a good like first step to having them clear out people’s back fences, but I think it needs to go up all the way to the actual mesa,” said Morreno.

City Open Spaces says getting rid of the weeds has been especially challenging because crews have to do it all by hand to make sure they don’t disrupt the land which is prone to flooding during monsoon season.

The city says it works with neighbors who call in to figure out when to clean up the tumbleweeds. Typically, they clean the area about twice a month.

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