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Along the bosque of the Rio Grande are irrigation ditches. Farmers and ranchers pay fees to have this water diverted off the river to water crops and cattle. This diversion is accomplished through irrigation chanels that we locals call ditches. Some ditches are deep, some run fast - all are potentially lethal to those silly enough to try and swim them.
Water levels are controled from far distances, run-off contributes to the flow. As a result, a seemingly calm ditch can raise it's water levels and become a raging torrent without warning. Additionally, since the ditch banks tend to be steep, once inside the ditch, it can be quite difficult to get out.
So, don't play in the ditches!
Updated Jun 19, 2005
In 2003 there were horrible fires within the City of Albuquerque. They were centered along a strip of green that follows the Rio Grande - AKA: the Bosque.
The same day that the worst of these fires evacuated many folks from their homes and businesses in Albuquerque, another brushfire erupted a few miles north, in Corrales.
My brother walked out the back door w/ 2 friends, they saw a smoldering spot beneath an old tree along the ditch. He went in to grab a cup of water to put it out ... but the time he got back to the tree, there were flames. He ran to get a large water bottle, and by then the flames were in the tree and spreading fast. He called 911.
There is a lot more to the story. But for now, the rapid response to the call, and the fact that 3 fire agnecies arrived, brought this fire undercontrol before it spread like the fires 6 miles south. As it was, my parent's home was damaged, my sister's room destroyed, several sheds, windows were blown out of the neighbor's homes, and they also sustained some damage. Luckily no lives (human or animal) were lost .... though the toad population again took a hit - they died over the next few weeks.
My parent's home was rebuilt, and the majority of the damage cleared away ... the only testimony to this horrible day is the scarred tree out by the ditch.
They THINK this particular fire was started by a stray cigarrette - so take this warning seriously and BE CAREFUL!
Updated Jun 19, 2005
The main road through town is serious about controlling motorists' speed, and enforcement keeps traffic abiding by the designated 20 MPH signs. Corrales Road is now on the National Historic Rural Scenic Byways Register and there are a number of art galleries, studios, restaurants and interesting shops alongside.
Written Apr 22, 2003