Fires can damage important watersheds

By John Fleck / ABQ Journal Staff Writer

Krista Bonfantine can look up into the mountains behind her Sandia Park home and understand, better than most, the connection between the forested watersheds that provide most of New Mexico’s water and the stuff coming out of her tap.

As she opened the lid on the concrete box that surrounds Cienega Spring, which supplies her neighborhood’s water, she pondered what might happen if a fire burned through the overgrown woods above – the risk of floods tearing down the picturesque canyon, ash and debris wiping out the water supply intake.

Krista Bonfantine at the lid to the concrete box that surrounds Cienega Spring, which supplies her Sandia Park neighborhood’s water. Fire and damage to watersheds have been an increasing concern, and she is part of an effort to tackle the cause: overgrown forests. (Dean Hanson/Albuquerque Journal)
Fire and the resulting damage to watersheds have been an increasing concern in recent years, and Bonfantine is part of an ambitious effort to tackle the cause – overgrown forests in New Mexico’s mountains.

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