From her Socorro County farm, RGALT’s director, Cecilia Rosacker, saw the black cloud billowing in the distance. The culprit was a fire in the Escondida area of the Rio Grande Bosque—a place near 4 of RGALT’s conservation easements. The following morning, with smoke still hanging in the air, Cecilia received a call from conservation easement landowner Sue Conklin exclaiming, “You’ve got to see this! Your conservation easements saved us! You’ve got to get out here and see this.”
“The fire raged on their neighbor’s property fueled by the salt cedar, but their conservation easement property where restoration had occurred had no fire damage,” stated Cecilia Rosacker, RGALT ED.
The recent wildfire along the Rio Grande bosque in the Escondida area burned more than 500 acres of private and public land, as well as multiple homes and other buildings. Some properties, like the 25 acres owned by Sue and Al Conkilin, bordering the fire line were spared thanks in part to restoration efforts by property owners and non-profit organizations dedicated to preserving the riparian areas.
When Cecilia arrived at Sue and Al Conklin’s 25 acre property, it was clear just how important conservation easements paired with restoration work are for wildfire prone regions. The contrast was amazing with a clear fire line stopping near the Conklin’s conservation easement where hazardous fuels like salt cedar previously had been reduced as part of a Save Our Bosque Task Force restoration project.
Read more about the recent Bosque wildfire in an article by staff writer, John Larson, of Socorro’s El Defensor Chieftain: “Easements help protect homes from wildfires.” Larson visited Sue and Al Conklin to learn how land like their 25 acre conservation easement was spared–due to restoration efforts–during the recent wildfire.