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Slow Recovery from Fires


Fires begin in the mountains after lightening strikes, due to camp fires left unattended, and during times of drought. The speed, size, and destruction of forest fires depend on several factors that include denseness of underbrush, core dryness of the vegetation, humidity, and winds. In May, 2000, the devastating Cerro Grande fire whipped through the Jemez Mountains and Los Alamos. Los Alamos was evacuated as 400 homes were destroyed along with structures on the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory site and 150,000 acres of forest. A controlled burn got out of control due to high winds and the lasting effects will be felt for generations. In May, 2018, 4,600 acres of forest were burned during the Buzzard Fire that began near Reserve. The first three photographs show images of the Jemez recovery after 18 years; a little Ponderosa seedling among six foot aspen trees and scrub that have appeared between standing dead an burned or partially burned trees. The last photograph is south of Reserve showing similar appearance. Recovery from fire is slow in the mountains.


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