ALBUQUERQUE (AP) - Firefighters on the ground in the cottonwood
bosque along part of the Rio Grande will know where to go and
what's there when fighting fires, thanks to high-technology.
The Army Corps of Engineers on Wednesday introduced its
Albuquerque Internet Mapping System to firefighters from the
Albuquerque and Los Ranchos departments. The system will give
firefighters detailed, area-specific information on an Internet Web
site.
"This gives us a bird's eye view of where we are going before
we get there," Los Ranchos Fire Chief George Dahl said.
The Web site contains information on about 18 miles of the
bosque, stretching from a diversion channel near Sandia Pueblo
north of Albuquerque south to Isleta Pueblo. Computers can zoom in
on areas on the maps to show access roads, houses, fire hydrants -
even ponds and private swimming pools.
Firefighters can access the information from fire stations, and
eventually from onboard wireless computers.
"I wish we had this throughout the whole city," Albuquerque
Fire Department Commander Joe Zamora said.
The mapping system will make it easier to plan for and fight
bosque fires, Dahl and Zamora said. Most fire departments know
their own areas, but can find it confusing responding to fires in
unfamiliar territory under mutual aid agreements.
"With the mapping system no matter where or who responds, we
will all be working on the same page," Dahl said.
The Army Corps of Engineers' Albuquerque district received
emergency federal funds to reduce the risk of fire in the bosque
after fires forced hundreds of evacuations in June 2003. Since
then, vegetation in many areas along the river also has been
thinned.
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On the Net:
Mapping link: www.bosquerevive.com

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)