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Crews work to protect Sandia comms towers while battling fire

Joy Wang
July 08, 2017 07:28 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – As local fire crews work to contain the small North Crest Fire in the Sandias, U.S. Forest Service officials say the priority over the weekend is making sure the blaze doesn’t creep towards vital communication towers on the peak.

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“Today’s focus will be to construct a 40-foot cleared area surrounding the Sandia Crest Communication towers,” officials stated in an update sent out early Saturday afternoon. “The communication site is a critical infrastructure and this work will enhance its future protection.”

About 65 personnel are working on containing the blaze, the update goes on to say, with the assistance of one engine and a helicopter.

Officials said Friday that the fire was five acres in size.

TRAILS REMAIN CLOSED

While it may seem like some trails are open in the Sandias are open as the North Crest Fire burns, that isn't the case. For example, the La Luz Trail closes where it intersects with the Crest Trail. 

Only emergency vehicles are allowed past a certain point. 

It's dissapointing news for some hikers who were hoping to explore the north side of the Sandias over the weekend.

"I'm running up here training for La Luz (Trail Run) and some races later in the season," said Jane Cudney-Black. "I'm really bummed because I was just running that trail last weekend."

Lightning is currently the suspected cause for the fire, something Cudney-Black says she's noticed while hiking and running in the mountains. '

"There's no safe area up here when you see lightning, and I saw it," she said. "I was up just past Chimney Springs and I saw a flash and then, seconds later, I heard it. So I knew it was super close and very active."

For now, Cudney-Black and other hikers are limited to other trails that remain open, including the Piedra Lisa South Trail. 

Credits

Joy Wang

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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