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  Public Safety

Free use of County landfill

On Saturday, May 4, from 8:00 a.m. to noon, in conjunction with Rio Rancho’s Great American Cleanup event, residents of Rio Rancho, Algodones, Corrales, Placitas, and the town of Bernalillo will be permitted to dispose of waste for free at the Sandoval County Landfill—2700 Idalia Road. Proof of residency will be required to utilize this free access. Residents must separate recyclables and green waste/yard waste for composting. Tree stumps, televisions, construction waste, appliances, tires, and hazardous, medical and commercial wastes will not be accepted.  

For more information, contact the city of Rio Rancho’s Keep Rio Rancho Beautiful Division at 891-5015. For more information about the city of Rio Rancho, visit The landfill can be accessed from N.M. 528/Pat D’Arco by turning west onto Idalia Road.

Torreon Road reconstruction started

—Sidney Hill

April 5 was the groundbreaking for the long-awaited project to reconstruct Torreon Road in Northwestern Sandoval County. This portion of the project—which entails rebuilding the most-heavily damaged five-mile stretch of the 11.9-mile road—is being funded by a $5 million federal grant that was awarded to the county last August.

Sandoval County officials have long sought funding to reconstruct Torreon Road because of its importance as a major transportation route linking the primarily rural northwest portions of the county with the Albuquerque metro area. A large section of the road runs through the Torreon, Ojo Encino, and Counselor Chapters of the Navajo Nation. The road is part of many school bus routes. In recent years, however, heavy traffic has caused so much damage to the road, that many commuters no longer find it safe for travel.

Fire resistant plants, landscaping

—Vicki Gottlieb

Firewise Placitas recommends considering the fire-resistant properties of plants you choose for landscaping; and May is the best time to plant in order to be certain of frost-free nights. Firewise landscaping can be aesthetically pleasing while reducing potential wildfire fuel. Plant choice, spacing, and maintenance are critical.

In March, Placitas residents learned about defensible space (area around a structure where fuels and vegetation are treated, cleared, or reduced to slow the spread of wildfire), the importance of thinning and pruning evergreens, potential fire scenarios specific to the area, steps to take to reduce wildfire risk around homes, and the size of fire-fighting vehicles and access requirements. The Coronado Soil and Water Conservation District sponsored a Chipper Day in April at the Library that turned tree limbs and trunks into mulch. A logical next step is to consider what to plant in the areas opened up when property has been thinned and made defensible.

The New Mexico State University Cooperative Extension Service and the New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department Forestry Division published a comprehensive list of fire resistant plants for New Mexico and tips at The list is grouped into trees/large shrubs such as Rocky Mountain maple, Desert willow, Bitter cherry, Silver buffaloberry; shrubs such as Rabbitbrush, Bush honeysuckle, Snowberry, Golden currant; and flowers/ground covers such as various penstemons, Santa Fe phlox, Fringed sage, various roses and columbines, Bearded iris. The list includes scientific and common names, water needs, mature height, sun/shade preference, elevation and approximate bloom times.

Plants that are more resistant to wildfire have one or more of the following characteristics:

  • They grow without accumulating large amounts of combustible dead branches, needles or leaves (aspen).
  • They have open, loose branches with a low volume of total vegetation (currant and mountainmahogany).
  • They have low sap or resin content (many deciduous species).
  • They have high moisture content (succulents and some herbaceous plants).
  • They grow slowly and need little maintenance (do not need frequent pruning).
  • They are short and grow close to the ground (small wildflowers and groundcovers).
  • They can reestablish following a fire, reducing re-landscaping costs (aspen, New Mexico locust).

For more information on Firewise Placitas, contact or Vicki Gottlieb at 404-8022

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