EXPLAINER: Bosque fire evacuation confusion

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — On Wednesday evening, people in Albuquerque’s North Valley got texts, calls and saw social media posts asking for mandatory evacuations.

But less than an hour after the evacuation alert went out, it was lifted. So what happened?

On Thursday, fire officials explained that the miscommunication came down to one word. It turned out wires were crossed at the dispatch center.

“There was a miscommunication at the dispatch center of an evacuation at Rio Grande Boulevard versus Rio Grande river,” said Brian Rose, deputy chief for the Bernalillo County Fire Department.

Rose said someone thought they wanted everyone out – from Montano to Candelaria, from the river to Rio Grande Boulevard – when they actually just wanted everyone near the Rio Grande to leave.

The word “boulevard” was then placed in all of the alerts from officials, until the evacuation orders were lifted at around 9:15 p.m. Wednesday.

Albuquerque Fire Rescue Chief Gene Gallegos said homes were never at risk. Both city and county agencies will be closely reviewing what went wrong.