Sunland Park Fire Chief shows fire ravaged Upper Valley


POSTED: Friday, May 24, 2013 - 2:17pm

UPDATED: Friday, May 24, 2013 - 6:54pm

After Monday's fire in Sunland Park, residents were upset about the fire department's ability to manage the situation.
Friday, the Sunland Park Fire Chief toured the charred area to show the situation they were working with.

Sunland Park Fire Chief Andres Burciaga shows why his department had trouble putting out the Upper Valley fire on Monday.

"Even a four wheel drive vehicle can't get down there," said Burciaga.

There are 14 firefighters on Burciaga's team, far too few to battle the several acre fire.

"Even though we're such a small department and it took us such a long time to put it out," he said. "I still think we did an awesome job to hold that fire back".

The Sunland Park Fire Department worked to extinguish the flames Monday for nearly 12 hours.
It's an exhausting task during any time of the year, but Burciaga calls this fire especially tough because of the heat and strong winds that day.

"Not just the amount of hours, but being outside in the heat. the heat. that really takes a toll on a person," he said.

One home was burned in the fire.  The cause has yet to be determined. Chief Burciaga said he's working with the Elephant Butte Irrigation District to come up with a plan for the next time something like this happens.

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