- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 14, 2014

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - An effort to reduce the threat of destructive wildfires in central New Mexico is getting a boost thanks to $2 million in federal funding.

The U.S. Forest Service and the Natural Resources Conservation Service have approved the funds for tree thinning, prescribed fires and the removal of hazardous fuels on the Cibola National Forest, Isleta Pueblo and the Chilili Land Grant.

Officials say the ponderosa pine and pinon-juniper forests of the Sandia and Manzano mountains are dense, dry and overgrown.

The Nature Conservancy says the work will help restore forested watersheds in areas with high potential for damaging wildfire and post-fire flooding that can wash ash and debris into water supplies.

The group is raising private matching funds to help leverage the federal dollars invested in the Isleta Project.

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