Riding on the Rio Grande with BCFD’s bosque patrol

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — With multiple wildfires raging across the state, the Bernalillo County Fire Department has been actively patrolling the East Mountains and the bosque, going up and down the Rio Grande in their airboat since April.

“With the high winds going on this week, the drought conditions and some of the fire activities happening within the state, Bernalillo County Fire Department is trying to be proactive in patrolling all regions,” explained Joe Lane, BCFD’s Engineer and Water Rescue Coordinator.

They’re looking out for any suspicious activity.

“Our airboat allows us to patrol from Isleta Pueblo, all the way north to Sandoval County,” Lane said.

The airboat lets them go where trucks can’t get close to.

“We’re looking out for fire danger, people utilizing the bosque, homeless encampments,” Lane said, “and educating people of the drought conditions and the severity that the state has right now.”

KOB 4 went on a ride-along and saw people enjoying both the bosque and the Rio Grande.

“Enjoy the state, but be cautious,” Lane reminded. “The incident we had in Valencia County last month and what we’re dealing with up in northern New Mexico, we don’t want that in Bernalillo County.”

The good news is, so far everyone’s been following the rules – but they’re still taking precautions.

“Our department got orders that specifically this week with the fire conditions and the humidity level, they want us out all day long,” Lane said.

As long as conditions stay dry and windy, you can expect them to be out on the boat.

“We’re just in multiple, multiple drought conditions,” Lane said. “They just keep stacking up on each other.”

The BCFD, along with other first responders and local kayak and canoe clubs, will be hosting a safety day on May 21.