Arizona's Wallow Fire In Albuquerque

Sandias Covered In Smoke From The Wallo Fire In Az

The view of the Sandia Mountains from my front window the last few days has been obscured by smoke from the Wallow fire near the New Mexico border in Alpine, Arizona. This fire is affecting the Albuquerque area by creating a cloud of smoke which besides the smell has caused some ash to fall from the sky.

Normally I have a clear view of the Sandias except when we have a storm.

This one is over

It’s bad enough that the last two nights I have had to turn off the cooler because it was filling the house with the smell of forest fire.

This is going to be a bad year for fires unless we get some rain, which the Albuquerque area hasn’t received a significant rain storm since early this year.

The Arizona Republic as a good FAQ on the Wallow Fire and An image from the NOAA shows the smoke plume (I don’t know if the NOAA has a direct source to this image).

Wallo Fire Smoke NOAA

Update 06/07/2011: The trend for the last few days is the smoke goes away during the day and settles back in during the evening. It feels like a nuclear winter. Here are a few pictures I took from the office building last night, note the red dot which is the sun.

Wallow fire smoke as seen in Rio Rancho, NM

Wallow Fire smoke as seen in Rio Rancho, NM

While the smoke here in Rio Rancho and Albuquerque is bad, it’s not nearly as bad as for those who actually live where the fire is. The local paper The White Mountain Independent has information about all of the evacuations in the area.

Latest map from the NOAA.


The Wildlife West Nature Park In Edgewood, New Mexico

Update: There are a number of embedded images from Flickr in this post, however Flickr isn’t serving them up right. Please visit the set to see more.

If it wasn’t for a link to a “Bear Festival” in the Duke City’s Fix Morning Fix, I would have never known about the Wildlife West Nature Park in Edgewood, New Mexico.

I went on a hot Saturday afternoon. There wasn’t many people and there wasn’t much of a festival going on, although I did get a free hot dog. Wildlife West has a chuck wagon dinner and country music show in their amphitheater about 7pm and I suspect more of the actives occur around this time. I’m not sorry to have missed the country music.

Wildlife West is not the Albuquerque Zoo (nor is the Albuquerque Zoo the San Diego Zoo). Wildlife West is more of a native animal park which sets native animals of New Mexico in the native environment of New Mexico. It’s not huge but it is well laid out and the animal habitats are well designed and professional. All of the animals, some which are protected and illegal to own, come to the park as human imprints or were injured in some way that they most likely would not survive in the wild. Personally, I find this sort of zoo (or animal park) as much if not more interesting.

The park starts off with a marsh that’s protected with a 6 foot wall and some view niches. I’m not sure if this was an incomplete exhibit or the expectation was to view the animals from the niches, but all I saw were ducks.

The next exhibit was of Dusty the Road Runner. The Road Runner is the state bird of New Mexico and is protected. Dusty is an Imprint. I find Road Runners to be beautiful birds and welcome any chance to see them up close.

I came to the park for the behind the scenes tour of Koshari the bear, for which I failed to read the info panel. I don’t recall how the bear came to the park. It’s interesting that even the Albuquerque Zoo doesn’t have a native New Mexico bear. Other than Wildlife West, the other way to see a native bear is to camp in the Sandia Mountains and put food in your tent. The behind the scenes tour included a guided tour behind the exhibit where we got a slightly closer look a the bear through a chain link fence and the tour guide enticed the bear with peanut butter on a dog bone. Not as impressive as I expected but informative and interesting.

There were a number of other animals that I saw including Phantom the Puma, Farley the Gray fox and Sparky the Lynx. There were also a number of animals that I did not see including the wolves and elk. Most of the animals were smarter than the humans and were staying in the shade. Unfortunately I did not see a lot of animals I would have liked to have seen.

The bird exhibits were left for last and were probably the most interesting. Although the exhibits seem small, most of the birds could not fly. For example Ernie, the Great Horned Owl, right wing was damaged probably from being hit by a car. This is the first time I have seen a native Owl up close.

I would recommend that anyone check out the The Wildlife West Nature Park in Edgewood, New Mexico. The website claims that the park is a few minutes from east Albuquerque, but it’s about an hour from Rio Rancho. I suggest going when it’s not 100 degrees, for both the humans and the animals. It took me about 3 hours to walk through the park with only about half of the animals viewable and I would also suggest anyone going to time their visit with the chuck wagon supper and show at about 7pm. The park costs are Adults: $7.00, Seniors: $6.00, Students: $4.00 and Children under 5: FREE. All of my photos from my last trip are geotagged and viewable on Flickr.

HGTV's New Mexico Dream Home Sweepstakes

I considered not writing about HGTV’s 2010 Dream Home giveaway because I don’t want it to get any attention. The home is located in San Pedro Overlook, New Mexico near Sandia Park. It’s on the other side of the Sandia Mountains from Albuquerque. I really want to win this house so I don’t want anyone knowing about it. I came to the realization that I’m unlikely to have any impact on it’s promotion.


The custom-designed 3,900-square-foot HGTV Dream Home 2010 will mix southwestern architecture with modern design. Created with the bold, innovative ideas, architecture, art and design that make HGTV Dream Homes so exciting and unique, it includes three bedrooms, three bathrooms, a home office, gourmet kitchen, home theater and a guest casita. The amazing home site is nestled in the gaze of the majestic San Pedro Mountains with breathtaking scenery and a plethora of outdoor activities. Nearby, the historic towns of Santa Fe and Albuquerque offer an international art scene, amazing cuisine and a rich, multicultural heritage.

I could totally dump nearly everything I own and move into the house as it is. I would be happy to commute to Albuquerque. The only thing I would need to do wire it for my home automation system. And figure out how to pay for the taxes.

Please do not enter the contest.

We Got Snow

Boy did we ever. At my house we got about an inch. Which isn’t much but that translates to 36 inches on top of the Sandia Mountains. Which still isn’t a lot compared to some parts of the US but it is an lot for Albuquerque. It’s been almost 2 days since the storm hit and we are still having fog and parts of the east mountains are just now getting their power back on. They even had to close I-40 from Albuquerque to Texas. The Sandia Peak ski area is now 100% open, the first time in 3 years and last year they didn’t open at all.

Were expecting another storm in a day or two. Hopefully it brings just as much snow because we can desperately use the water.