ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) – The State Land Office is expecting an above-normal fire season and has a plan to treat overgrown sections of the wooded area along the Rio Grande just south of Albuquerque.
Officials say the work begins Tuesday and will include the removal nonnative Russian olive, salt cedar and elm trees. That will be followed by seeding the area with native grasses and forbs.
Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn says the area is extremely vulnerable to wildfire so the project aims to create conditions that would prevent any flames from reaching tree tops and becoming unmanageable.
New Mexico forestry officials say nearly seven square miles have been charred across the state so far this year, and forecasters say a persistent pattern of warm, dry weather will only help to elevate fire danger.