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Tragedy for the New Mexico landscape

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Tragedy for the New Mexico landscape

Postby Bubba Suess » Wed Nov 02, 2011 12:16 am

I loved the Jemez. I have a lot of great memories there:

http://www.timesunion.com/news/article/ ... php#page-2

Does anyone know exactly how burned the Jemez is? What is Bandalier like? Valles Caldera? What is the San Diego River like? The north side, around Cerro Pedernal? I have not been able to find much on this.
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Re: Tragedy for the New Mexico landscape

Postby Clark_Griswold » Wed Nov 02, 2011 1:22 am

Yup, pretty sad. Lots of areas like that in the west. Frequent low intensity fires replace by high intensity infrequent fire, entirely due to humans excluding fire when it was easy to do so and failing to do so when hot, dry windy conditions made it next to impossible to do so. In many locations, the grass has long since been obliterated and kept to a bare minimum thanks to grazing by cattle and sheep. Unlike ponderosa pine and native grasses (which have the added problem of herbivory) shrubs can sprout rapidly after a hot fire and take over the site. Essentially we have succeeded in creating a chaparral system on sites that were pine forest. Instead of a relatively diverse system like in Southern California, you get one dominated by a handful of species.

I have seen ponderosa pine in numerous locations in the west, but only in places in the Gila National Forest does it look anything like it should. Even there, the tree densities are too high in many stands. If the area was twice burned as hot as they say and as they describe it, it really isn't much to visit anymore.
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Re: Tragedy for the New Mexico landscape

Postby benwood » Sat Nov 05, 2011 5:39 am

i agree. I am in Missouri now, but as a New Mexico native, THIS SUCKS! I took my first camping trip with my wife in the jemez. any how I was there this summer during the fires and "holy shit" it was a rampage. big fat bummer man.
"Yeah, I just stare at my desk; but it looks like I'm working. I do that for probably another hour after lunch, too. I'd say in a given week I probably only do about fifteen minutes of real, actual, work" - Peter Gibbons
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Re: Tragedy for the New Mexico landscape

Postby MoapaPk » Thu Nov 10, 2011 10:33 pm

About 150 square miles have been taken by fire. That's bad, but remember the Jemez area is huge. I'd look at poor forest management and invasive plants (like cheatgrass) before "climate change."
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Re: Tragedy for the New Mexico landscape

Postby lcarreau » Thu Nov 10, 2011 11:08 pm

The "Wallow Fire" occurring earlier this year in the White Mountains of eastern Arizona - approximately 225 sq. miles BURNED.

Kinda makes you wonder about some of these forest managers - in the end, WHAT do they manage? Burned trees ???

:shock:
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Re: Tragedy for the New Mexico landscape

Postby MoapaPk » Fri Nov 11, 2011 12:55 am

The Cerro Grande Fire in 2000, which burned about 75 square miles, was actually started by the Jemez USFS. It was meant to be a controlled burn, but the winds were high and it raged on, destroying about 400 homes. If I had a reputation for burning down my own forests, I might also blame climate change.
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Re: Tragedy for the New Mexico landscape

Postby coldfoot » Fri Nov 11, 2011 3:00 am

The Wallow Fire in the White Mountains was started by two idiots who were camping and didn't put out their fire.

http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2011/08/24/20110824wallow-fire-cousins-charged.html

"They stated that they believed their campfire was out because David threw a candy wrapper in the fire just prior to their departure, and it did not melt," court documents said. But when they were returning to their campsite several hours later, the Malboeufs told investigators, they could smell and see smoke from the area. "They tried to return to camp to cut their dogs loose, which they had left tied up in camp, but could not get close because of the fire and smoke," the complaint stated.


I repeat, idiots. Can't blame this one on the Forest Disservice, or border crossers for that matter.

After decades of overly aggressive fire suppression policy, the Forest Service doesn't have a lot to work with. Even if they turn around and do controlled thinning and burns and never screw up, there will be large devastating wildfires. IMO the effect of climate change will be visible over long timespans (not one year to the next) as the vegetation that returns is not necessarily going to be the same as what was there before.
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Re: Tragedy for the New Mexico landscape

Postby Baarb » Fri Nov 11, 2011 5:31 am

Read this recently, thought it was quite interesting re. drought and water supply management http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg2 ... -fail.html. I spent some years living in NM and would guess that the trees largely rely on summer rain and moisture from the odd snow fall in winter. If there is a tendency for drying then as coldfoot says, what can survive will change.
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Re: Tragedy for the New Mexico landscape

Postby Bubba Suess » Fri Nov 11, 2011 5:46 am

MoapaPk wrote:The Cerro Grande Fire in 2000, which burned about 75 square miles, was actually started by the Jemez USFS. It was meant to be a controlled burn, but the winds were high and it raged on, destroying about 400 homes. If I had a reputation for burning down my own forests, I might also blame climate change.


The east side of the Jemez has been burned six or so times in recent memory. Bandelier in particular seems to have been having a rough go lately. Flooding has wiped out some of the prettier spots in the park. The Falls trail is one of my favorites in New Mexico. It saddens me deeply that it has been hammered like this.
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Re: Tragedy for the New Mexico landscape

Postby Clark_Griswold » Fri Nov 11, 2011 4:35 pm

lcarreau wrote:The "Wallow Fire" occurring earlier this year in the White Mountains of eastern Arizona - approximately 225 sq. miles BURNED.

Kinda makes you wonder about some of these forest managers - in the end, WHAT do they manage? Burned trees ???

:shock:

Legal briefs and documents to meet regulations, that's what they manage these days.
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Re: Tragedy for the New Mexico landscape

Postby lcarreau » Fri Nov 11, 2011 5:19 pm

coldfoot wrote:The Wallow Fire in the White Mountains was started by two idiots who were camping and didn't put out their fire.

http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2011/08/24/20110824wallow-fire-cousins-charged.html



And, as we read on in the article ..

"They tried to return to camp to cut their dogs loose, which they had left tied up in camp, but could not get close because of the fire and smoke," the complaint stated.

The cousins RAN from the area toward the Black River where they stayed overnight, according to court documents.


This makes NO sense to me. They SAW the fire and smoke, but chose to stay near the river. WHY didn't they alert the authorities SOONER?

Unhealthy forest + IDIOTS = A FIRE waiting to HAPPEN! ! Daaaa..
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Re: Tragedy for the New Mexico landscape

Postby CSUMarmot » Sat Nov 12, 2011 3:17 am

Think this is bad? Try 85% of Colorado in about 5 years. Firestorm waiting to happen.
Dammit kid get off mah lawn!!!
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Re: Tragedy for the New Mexico landscape

Postby Baarb » Sat Nov 12, 2011 3:18 am

Some stuff about predicting fire seasons in South America based on sea surface temperature patterns http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-15691060 (I tend to avoid most of the forums so sorry if this has been discussed ad nauseum)
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Re: Tragedy for the New Mexico landscape

Postby MoapaPk » Sat Nov 12, 2011 6:00 am

We definitely have a link in southern NV. El Nino usually means a high cheat grass crop, which means fires.
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Re: Tragedy for the New Mexico landscape

Postby strudolyubov » Sun Nov 13, 2011 1:54 am

The eastern/southeastern parts of Jemez were burned pretty bad: East-Northeast parts of Valles Caldera are gone, Cochiti Mesa is gone, Bandelier Monument has literally no pine forest left. The East Fork Jemez River canyon is mostly intact, as well as everything to the west of Las Conchas (where NM-4 crosses East Fork Jemez River). They also managed to save most of Chicoma Mountain area and Pajarito Mountain Ski Area near Los Alamos.

Here is the link to the page showing the map of the burned area:

http://www.inciweb.org/incident/2385/
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