Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Las Conchas Fire.

This huge wildfire in the Jemez Mountains (largest fire EVER in the State of New Mexico) has been burning for less than a week now, and is now up to nearly 114,000 acres, affecting the town of Los Alamos, Bandelier National Monument, Santa Clara and Cochiti Pueblos, the Dixon Apple Orchard, and the Valles Caldera, as well as many other scenic forested areas and canyons throughout the Jemez Mountains.

The fire was believed to be started last Sunday afternoon when a tree limb hit a power line on private property near mile marker 35 on N.M. 4.

1,200 firefighters are now battling the blaze, which has resulted in the town of Los Alamos being evacuated and the National Lab being closed for the entire past week. Smoke from the fire has been settling over many areas of northern New Mexico, depending which way the wind is blowing, and dealing with the smoke smell and ash has become a common occurence for us.

Containment as of this morning is only about 4%. The firefighting experts are telling us the fire is likely to burn until the summer monsoons arrive, hopefully very soon.

An announcement from The Los Alamos National Laboratory this morning said: "At no time were nuclear or hazardous materials in harm's way, thanks to immediate and effective action taken by fire and emergency crews, apart from safeguards in place before the conflagration."

Watching this fire has been fascinating and heartbreaking. I can get a clear view of the smoke plumes and even flames from my west window of the house. The Jemez Mountains are one of my favorite places for sightseeing and visiting in the state, and I dread seeing one day how things look up there, and imagining how long it will be for the forest to regenerate.

I took these pictures last night from my house:


Buck said...

We've had a horrible fire season down here on the High Plains. It is dry, dry, dry and that doesn't bode well for the rest of the summer. Still and even, our grassland fires don't wreak the aesthetic havoc like fires in the forests do.

Stay safe, Sharon.

WasSoggyInSeattle said...

I am so, so sad about the fires in New Mexico. They just keep coming. I pray daily that you get rain throughout the state. My parents (south of Portales) actually got a couple showers this week - not much they said but something. I hope your monsoons come soon. Thanks for the updates.

Lin said...

Touch grass ... so far so good here in the flat dry grass valley. I sure hope you get some good rains soon to keep you safe. Gads, those photos are alarming!