ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The city of Albuquerque is re-evaluating its decision to leave some of its open space areas open, given the extreme fire conditions. Five of those areas are in the east mountains were just a few feet away, the forest has been closed because it’s so dangerous.
People who live in the east mountains near these open space areas say they simply didn’t understand the reasoning by the city to keep these areas open. They fear the forest closures will mean nothing if the city doesn’t get on board.
The areas residents are talking about are Juan Tomas Open Space off Oak Flat and Carolino Canyon on South 14 in Tijeras, Gutierrez Canyon and San Antonito Open Spaces in Ceder Crest, and the Placitas Open Space. All these areas were purchased by the city for recreation purposes and operate completely under the authority of the city, but they all sit very close to, sometimes just within feet of the national forest which has been off-limits to all visitors since May 19.
While the gates were closed on Monday, neighbors said they were packed with people this weekend. So many have been calling the mayor’s office all day and sounding off on social media. The city says it does understand the higher potential for fire out there, and higher fuel loads, and is re-evaluating possible closures.
“We have a lot that goes into making these decisions ultimately made in mayor’s office with input from Parks and Recreation division as well as the Albuquerque Fire Rescue department, so we are evaluating the situation and have been since last week,” said the city’s Open Space Superintendant Colleen McRoberts. “We will continue to evaluate for all of our properties. We do find value in having our citizens help us to keep their eyes and ears open and on the trails to help us monitor all things for Open Space.”
The city hopes to have a decision in the coming days. They are also working with Bernalillo County Fire Department since they are the ones who would respond to a fire out there. At this point, there are no plans to close the open space areas within city limits.