Crews respond to Chavez Fire in Sandia Mountains

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – A popular hiking trail in the East Mountains was taken over by fire crews Wednesday morning.

The U.S. Forest Service in Cibola National Forest says they got the fire under control Wednesday afternoon, but they are thankful for the Bernalillo County Fire Department.

Officials say the fire was started by a lightning strike, and folks who live in nearby Sandia Park say that storm kept them up last night.

“Huge lightning noises, and I’m sure one of them is the one that started the fire,” said Michael Lord, an East Mountain resident. 

Lord and his wife have lived in the East Mountains for 40 years. Every fire season they hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.

“We immediately start thinking, “Are we going to have to get out of here? What are we going to have to do to get out of here? What do we want to take with us?’ But we do have a comprehensive list of what we need to take,” said Lord. 

Even when thunderstorms roll through, the Lords stay optimistic.

“We are more thankful for the rain, and the temperature dropped 21 degrees when the storm came through yesterday,” Lord said. 

By Wednesday evening, the fire was more than 75% contained, and folks were back out on the trails hiking and riding horses. But Lord says that wouldn’t be possible without the fire crews.

“God bless them. We have watched over the years all the fires in New Mexico, especially last year. I have friends in Vegas, and firefighters are heroes,” said Lord.