Archive for May, 2013

Fire Information Meeting, Tuesday May 28, 2013, 6:30 PM Sandia Ranger District

by Karen Takai, Sandia Ranger District – Monday, May 27

Good Morning, We have been actively patrolling our district for the last few weeks with our Sandia RD fire crews  and have extra patrol units from Montana. We also have extra employees out and around enforcing  our restrictions. When you see them out there please welcome them. They are working long days to keep us safe.

Our fire weather for the next few days will be challenging  and we are asking for extra diligence from our community and visitors during this time.

  • We are in Stage II fire restrictions which means only stoves with shut off valves  are allowed. NO FIRES OR Charcoal BBQ!
  • You will be cited for an open fire and if it escapes you will be handed a bill.
  • If you can- Cold picnic….the forest is still beautiful  and fun without stoves .
  • If you see any open fire on the Sandia District please report it immediately to 911 and district 281-3304
  • If you are hiking and biking in back country areas be very aware of your locations at all times. Know your  fastest escape routes just incase you smell fire or see smoke. Get out of the area!
  • Our forest has thousands of dead standing trees due to bug kill over the last 5 years. Be cautious when in your hiking and picnicking make sure there are no dead trees around you especially when winds are blowing. Make sure you are not resting under a dead tree.
  • Continuing lowering your risk around your home. Remove woodpiles,  rake and remove dead and down vegetation from around your nome, make sure your hoses are connected, fill a few extra containers with water,check your go bag and go over your plan with the family
  • Remember fireworks are never allowed
  • Be the eyes for our area ahd help be the solution

For many of you thank you so much for your constant support and help during our more challenging times.

For the students that have taken our classes follow your plan. Please help your neighbors who did not take the class and help lessen stress during this fire season.

Do you have a plan? It is time!  No procrastinating…….

Fire Information Meeting Tuesday May 28, 2013 6:30pm Sandia Ranger District Station.  The meeting is for new resident and a refresher for all. See you there. KT

Karen Takai
Fire Information & Public Affairs
Sandia Ranger District
11776 Hwy 337
Tijeras NM 87059
505-281-3304  ex 120

Public Service Announcement: Sandia and Mountainair Ranger Districts – Stage II Fire Restrictions In Effect

Editor’s note: This is late in coming but worth the time travel.  We urge our readers to be safe and take these restrictions very, very seriously.

Albuquerque, NM. May 13, 2013. The Cibola National Forest and Grasslands’ Sandia and Mountainair Ranger Districts will begin Stage II fire restrictions effective 8:00 a.m. on Monday, May 13, 2013. “Due to ongoing drought conditions and increasing fire danger, these restrictions are necessary to decrease the likelihood of human-caused wildfires and to protect public health and safety,” said Acting Forest Supervisor Joe Norrell. “In addition, the National Weather Service’s outlook has predicted that drought conditions in the region will persist through July,” he added.

Although the districts will be in fire restrictions, there are many activities that can still be enjoyed on the forest, such as picnicking, hiking and camping. All the campgrounds, picnic areas and trails are expected to be open by May 15. However, please use extreme caution when you’re on the forest, as conditions are very dry and wildfires can start from smoldering cigarettes or sparks from engines.

The Cibola works closely with the cities, counties, state, tribal and federal organizations that border the districts to coordinate fire restrictions. “This collaboration helps ensure the public receives consistent information about fire restrictions in their areas,” said Fire Management Officer Bea Day.

Stage II fire restrictions include:

  1. Building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, campfire, charcoal, coal, or wood stove anywhere on the Mountainair and Sandia Ranger Districts.
    Exceptions: The use of petroleum-fueled stoves, lanterns, propane grills, or heating devices is allowed, provided such devices meet the fire underwriter’s specification for safety and has a turn-off valve.
  2. Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building, at a developed recreation site, or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable material.
  3. Possessing, discharging or using any kind of firework or other pyrotechnic device.
  4. Discharging a firearm, air rifle or gas gun.
  5. Operating a chainsaw, or other equipment powered by an internal combustion engine from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
  6. Operating or using any internal or external combustion engine without a spark arresting device that is properly installed, maintained and in effective working order. They must meet either USDA Forest Service or appropriate Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) recommended practice
  7. Welding or operating acetylene or other torch with an open flame.
  8. Possessing or using a motor vehicle off National Forest System roads, except when parking in an area devoid of vegetation within 10 feet of the roadway or overnight parking in Forest Service-developed campgrounds and trailheads.

The following are exempt from Stage II fire orders on public lands managed by the Cibola National Forest and Grasslands:

  1. Persons with a Forest Service permit specifically authorizing the prohibited act or omission.
  2. Any federal, state or local officer or member of an organized firefighting force in the performance of an official duty.
  3. Residents, owners and lessees of land, and holders of Forest Service recreation special use authorizations within the restricted area, are exempt from Restriction No. 1 above ONLY, provided such fires are within a permanent structure.

Current fire restrictions for the Cibola National Forest and Grasslands are:

  • Mountainair Ranger District: Will begin Stage II Fire Restrictions on May 13, 2013.
  • Sandia Ranger District:  Will begin Stage II Fire Restrictions on May 13, 2013.
  • Mt. Taylor Ranger District: Will begin Stage I Fire Restrictions on May 10, 2013. The district’s personal woodcutting permit season is delayed.
  • Magdalena Ranger District: No restrictions.
  • Black Kettle and McClellan Creek National Grasslands: No restrictions.
  • Kiowa and Rita Blanca National Grasslands: No restrictions.

The Cibola’s fire restrictions can be found at:

For more information, contact:

Sandia Ranger District: 505.281.3304
Karen Takai; e-mail:

Mountainair Ranger District: 505.847.2990
Arlene Perea; e-mail:
Adrian Padilla; e-mail:

Ruth Sutton, Public Affairs Officer
Phone: 505.346.3900; e-mail:

Useful fire websites:

Public Service Announcement: Public Presentation with Brad Lancaster: Rainwater Harvesting

Provided by Christian Meuli

Event: Turning Water Scarcity Into Water Abundance
Date: Friday, June 7
Time: 6 – 8 pm
Place:  George Pearl Hall, UNM School of Architecture and Planning, Central Ave. NE and UNM Cornell Mall, Albuquerque
Sponsors:ErdaGardens and LearningCenter, Kalyx Studio, Querencia Green, and UNM Sustainability Studies Program

Brad Lancaster will present his work on Rainwater Harvesting on Friday, June 7, in George Pearl Hall on the UNM campus at 6 pm, at no cost to the public. The presentation, Turning Water Scarcity Into Water Abundance, will be followed by a book-signing party for Lancaster’s Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond.Event sponsors include ErdaGardens and LearningCenter, Kalyx Studio, Querencia Green, and UNM Sustainability Studies Program. Refreshments will be provided by La Montanita Coop during the book-signing session.

Brad Lancaster is a permaculture teacher, designer, consultant, the author of the award-winning booksRainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond,” Volumes 1 and 2, and co-founder of Desert Harvesters. Brad harvests an average of 100,000 gallons of rainwater a year from his property near downtown Tucson, Arizona, where rainfall is twelve inches on average annually. Brad and his brother Rodd have created an oasis in the desert by incorporating rainwater into living air conditioners of food-bearing shade trees, abundant gardens, and a thriving landscape that includes habitat for wildlife.

Brad has inspired thousands of citizens and numerous businesses in Tucson and across the nation to harvest water and sustainably grow local resources. Joanne McEntire of Querencia Green, a community organization, observes that “Rainwater harvesting from rooftops is encouraged in Tucson, along with stormwater capture from paved areas. In Albuquerque our annual average precipitation is less than ten inches. As we acknowledge long-term drought and fluctuating rainstorm patterns, we’ve begun to practice water harvesting. As more neighbors capture rainwater to support gardens, trees and wildlife, more benefits would result.”

On Sunday, June 9, Brad Lancaster will lead a hands-on workshop at KalyxStudioLearningCenter in BernalilloCounty’s SouthValley. Participants will learn and practice earthwork techniques used in water harvesting systems. The workshop will focus specifically on earthworks that can be implemented to improve the efficiency of acequia irrigation for the home garden. Workshop organizer Leslie Buerk comments: “Although we will be constructing a system that combines traditional desert gardening practices with water harvesting techniques as applied to acequia irrigation, all of the techniques relate directly to working with rainwater and greywater systems.” Additional information is available by e-mail directed to

Grow Your Own – Son Of The Return Of Bed 5

by John Weckerle

Return of the Son of Bed 5.

Return of the Son of Bed 5.

Growing season is upon us once again!  Those who have been following New Mexico Central’s experimental gardening exploits have watched as we moved from four foot-square raised beds to the 12 x 24 foot extravaganza that is Bed 5, including its rise, fall, rise, and so on.  Initially intended to provide a good rooting depth (24 to 30 inches through most of it) and protection from the elements and the herbivores (except, of course, us), the bed has served us well but needed improvement.   Recent developments include replacement of the rabbit fencing and bird netting with poultry fencing, which is more durable than the bird netting.  The latter simply did not stand up well to our local wind.  The “hill and trough” configuration watered with soaker hose has been replaced with raised beds watered by drip irrigation, which should greatly reduce the water needed to produce the produce, as it were.  We appear to have substantially more growing area, as well.   Currently in the ground are tomatoes (Roma, Brandywine, Mortgage Lifter, Black Krim, and Black Cherry), Brussels sprouts, broccoli, kale, chard, bell peppers (green, gold, and orange), chiles (Chimayo and New Mexico 6), zucchini, and yellow squash.  Still to be planted are cauliflower, eggplant, tomatillos, dill, and basil.

A word about drip irrigation and the installation thereof.  At some point in the distant past, your editor became somehow convinced that this was a very difficult and complicated thing.  It is not; installing drip irrigation is about as uncomplicated as it gets.  Bed 5 was the first foray into this arena, and we have since installed a total of 500 feet of supply line and a multitude of emitters.  This ends the tedious hand-watering of trees and shrubs that were looking much worse for the wear, but are now looking much better.  Of course, the wildlife have noticed this, and some of our trees and shrubs are now looking a little chewed up by deer that have jumped the fence.