New Mexico Fire Threatens Sacred River

July 10, 2003

Source: The Associated Press

On July 10, 2003 The Associated Press reported that "firefighters battled a blaze Thursday in the mountains of northern New Mexico that is threatening a river considered sacred by an American Indian community... The fire has burned 5,000 acres, including patches of the Rio Pueblo watershed, since it started July 4 by lightning. It was 10 percent contained Thursday morning... 'The Rio Pueblo is 100 percent of our drinking water. It is spiritual water for us. Religion and everything is tied to it,' said Mark Lujan, the Taos Pueblo governor's secretary. 'We are looking at protecting this watershed...' Because the area is sacred, only American Indians were fighting the fire as it nears the waterway. Nearly 900 firefighters and other personnel were assigned to the fire."