Strong Winds Fuel Bernalillo County Fire
POSTED: 11:25 pm MDT March 31, 2009
UPDATED: 11:04 am MDT April 1, 2009

BERNALILLO COUNTY, N.M. -- Strong gusts of wind fueled a 650-acre grass fire outside Albuquerque Tuesday.

Flames sparked just before 6 p.m. Tuesday on the Pajarito Mesa in southwest Bernalillo County.

"It looks human caused. It looks like someone was burning trash, which right now is an offense. Bernalillo County has a no-burn policy in place," said Chief John Garcia, with the Bernalillo County Fire Department.

Firefighters said they suspect many on the Pajarito Mesa are ignoring the policy.

"Yes, most definitely, we have a burn restriction in place for a reason. We need to make sure we protect what we have out here," Garcia said.

Garcia said he is expecting a rough fire season.

"Yeah, maybe not the worst, but pretty darn close," Garcia said.

No structures were damaged, but flames did get dangerously close to homes, causing some to leave the area.

Along with firefighters, a grater truck also spent much of the night widening dirt roads in the area. They served as fire blockers.