During the summer of 2011, which happens to be one of the worst droughts on record for those of us here in the United States Southwest, fires erupted all over causing mass destruction in many states. I reside in Albuquerque NM, and we were very fortunate here in the city. No large fires. A few small ones sprang up in the Rio Grande Bosque, but were quickly put out with little damage. However, Albuquerque, as well as a large part of the state, were victims from the mass amount of smoke and ash from the Arizona Wallow fires in June 2011. The first picture below is one I took from my back yard late one afternoon. No, it is not a setting sun… it is pink due to the thick smoke in the air. Ash covered everything for several days, choked our swamp coolers, and caused a large increase of asthma related problems in the hospitals. Below that are three photos I took from the north side of Albuquerque of the smoke pouring from the fires in Los Alamos (the Las Conchas fire), which threatened the nuclear lab facility there (home of the A-Bomb.) Los Alamos NM is approximately 70 miles how the crow flies. More…
Amazing collection of dramatic photos from NM and AZ fires.
City will not ban fireworks due to fear of civil lawsuits
Apparently the city of Albuquerque will not ban fireworks due to a fear of possible civil lawsuits. How asinine is this? New Mexico is in the the worst drought in recorded history… and the city is worried about law suits?
How about this… when we lose numerous homes due to a careless firecracker, those homeowners who lost their homes should sue the city for NOT banning fireworks.
Since the city will not ban fireworks (is there money under the table here???)… then here is my personal plea to all… please, wait until next year. Wait until the monsoons have passed, and hopefully rehydrated the state…. then set your fireworks off.
I am not anti-fireworks… I grew up with a family that had annual firework extravaganzas every Fourth in our rural Indiana fields. Love them! But I favor keeping our Bosque, keeping our National Forests, and keeping our homes over fireworks any day.
The fireworks can wait.
Here is my little video pleading no fireworks. The footage of the Bosque here in Albuquerque I took today. Below the video is an update on the Las Conchas Fire, and new photos from Los Alamos National Lab’s photostream on Flickr.
Las Conchas Fire Update
For Immediate Release: June 30, 2011
Date Started: 1 p.m., 6/26/2011
Number of Personnel: Approximately 752 personnel including seven hotshot crews and 14 handcrews.
Location: Approximately 12 miles southwest of Los Alamos off NM 4 at mile marker 35
Fuels: Mixed Conifer, Ponderosa Pine. Fuel moisture is extremely low.
Cause: Unknown – under investigation
Equipment: Four dozers and 28 engines
Size: approximately 92,735 acres
Aircraft: Five helicopters
Percent Contained: 3%
Residences: 13 destroyed and 3 damaged
Commercial Property: 3 damaged
Other structures: 2 destroyed
Las Conchas Fire Burns More Than 6,000 acres of Santa Clara Pueblo Land – 6/30
Santa Clara Pueblo, NM – The Las Conchas Fire has charred more than 6,000 acres of the watershed of Santa Clara Pueblo and continues to destroy cultural sites, forest resources, plants and animals that the people of Santa Clara depend upon for their livelihood and culture.
“We are devastated to witness the destruction of our precious homeland,” said Governor Dasheno. “From time immemorial to this day our community has been stewards of this land, have fought to regain portions taken from us and have invested millions of dollars in restoring the forest and resources.”
Nevertheless, after two days of extreme fire behavior, the Las Conchas Fire entered Santa Clara Pueblo lands mid-day on June 29. In the last 24 hours the fire has exploded across the western third of the reservation. This includes the area known as “P’opii Khanu,” the headwaters of the creek, which the Pueblo regained in 2000 after 140 years of struggle.
Below: Las Conchas Fire progression map June 20, 2011
LOS ALAMOS, N.M., June 28 (UPI) — Residents were ordered to evacuate Los Alamos, N.M., as an out-of-control wildfire was at the town’s edge and buffeted the secretive U.S. military nuclear lab.
A Los Alamos National Laboratory spokesman said the blaze, at the facility’s southern boundary, remained a few miles from key structures on the 25,600-acre property.
Nuclear and other hazardous materials were in safe storage deep inside vaults within concrete and steel buildings, Kevin Roark told the Alibi newspaper of Albuquerque.
The lab would not comment on a Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety allegation that the wildfire was about 3 miles from a nuclear dumpsite containing tens of thousands of 55-gallon drums of plutonium-contaminated waste.
The anti-nuclear watchdog group’s Web site appeared hacked early Tuesday morning, a United Press International check indicated. Its Facebook page had six messages from people alerting the group of the possible hacking, including a message commenting on the timing of the incident happening “just as the fires started.”
The wildfire, which began Sunday and exceeded 50,000 acres, or 78 square miles, early Tuesday, destroyed at least 30 homes and outbuildings south and west of Los Alamos, fire officials said.
“We don’t have a hard number,” Los Alamos Assistant Fire Chief Mike Thompson told the Albuquerque Journal.
Officials planned a flyover Tuesday morning to assess its scope.
The fire — whose flames and smoke could be seen from Albuquerque, about 80 miles south — caused erosion and runoff, with contaminants threatening the Rio Grande, officials said.
Roark told the Alibi, “There were not appreciable levels of radioactivity in the runoff.”
After the Cerro Grande fire in 2000, which devastated Los Alamos and changed firefighting policies and strategies all across the West, the lab installed structures to prevent heavy runoff, he said.
Some residents evacuating the town were “calm and other people are really frantic,” Sheila Luna told the Santa Fe New Mexican.
“The Conoco gas station ran out of gas last night, and at the next gas station I waited for 15 minutes before I could get the car filled up,” she said. “That part was kind of scary to me.”
Please, everyone in New Mexico… BOYCOTT ALL FIREWORKS THIS YEAR!
Fires are erupting all over the state, no rain in site.
Page on Facebook in support of this boycott (must be logged into FB): Click here
Los Alamos evacuated as Las Conchas fire grows
A mandatory evacuation for the City of Los Alamos is in effect Monday (June 27) as the Las Conchas wildfire threatens the area.
Eletha Trujillo with the Taos County Office of Emergency Management said the primary health concern for Taos County residents was the smoke from the fire that has settled in the area.
Trujillo said the forecast tonight is for cooler temperatures and calming winds, meaning Taoseños might wake up to especially smoky conditions tomorrow (June 28). She recommended that people with health conditions stay indoors and asked that drivers be especially cautious because of limited visability.
Trujillo said that she did not perceive any risk of radiation in the smoke from Los Alamos. Officials at the labs have insisted that all radioactive materials are safely stored and do not pose a threat. A spokesman from the lab could not immediately be reached for comment.
According to a Monday afternoon incident update on the fire, it had grown to nearly 44,000 acres and was 0 percent contained. The Los Alamos National Labs (LANL) were also closed to nonessential personnel Monday.
According to information from Los Alamos County, the evacuation of three areas was taking place Monday, with the groups being notified by “reverse 911.”
Group one includes Western, Quemazon and Ponderosa; group two includes North Community, Barranca Mesa and North Mesa; and group three includes East of Diamond and the rest of the town. Evacuees were urged not to go to White Rock in case that area is evacuated, as well.
Transportation is available for those who call (505) 661-7433. The Big Rock Santa Claran Event Center was opened as a shelter.
Campgrounds near the fire were evacuated Sunday (June 26).
Las Conchas fire started Sunday afternoon on private land near the Jemez Ranger District in the Santa Fe National Forest, about 3 miles south of Los Alamos. Structures and power lines were threatened, but according to the incident update, “all radioactive material is appropriately accounted for and protected.”
For more information and updates, call (505) 667-6622 or visit www.lanl.gov
Source: Taos News
Below: Los Alamos, Los Conchas Fire
Below: Jemez Mountains, recently taken
Below: South of Belen, taken Sunday, June 26, 2011