Updated: Tuesday, 27 Apr 2010, 8:32 AM MDT
Published : Tuesday, 27 Apr 2010, 8:32 AM MDT
ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - The fire season has started in the bosque. There have already been two fires in 2010 and with the windy season in full swirl, police and firefighters are removing squatters.
"I said 'this is my spot'" said Robert King, known as "Pappy." He has taken bits and pieces from the dump to make his home in the bosque. He has lived in this tucked-away spot for more than four years.
"I just don't want to be bothered and [be] by myself," said Pappy.
Albuquerque police and firefighters are now combing every inch of the bosque, kicking out Pappy and other squatters, hoping to prevent fires.
"For the past several years, a lot of our previous catastrophic fires have been human-caused," said Jeremiah Hansen.
Pappy has a stove and a fire pit, which are not legal in the bosque. He even admitted to starting a fire.
"Next thing I know, my friend said 'Pappy, your house is on fire' and I said 'No way,'" said Pappy.
Firefighters said the fire danger makes it too risky for people to live in the bosque. APD said the city literally cannot afford any fires.
Pappy has five days to move. He will not have to go it alone.
APD's homeless outreach program talks to squatters about services available to them. They helped Pappy contact his son and now he will be moving in with him.
Police also said some bosque squatters have committed property crimes. Others have caused problems for people using the woodland for recreation. Pappy's neighbor - who is also being kicked out - is being investigated for shooting a gun in the bosque.