Tag: Valles Caldera

Public lands: New Mexico’s Valles Caldera about to get full national park status

Public listening sessions help guide transition

A forested lava dome in the midst of the Valle Grande, the largest meadow in the Valles Caldera National Preserve.
A forested lava dome in the midst of the Valle Grande, the largest meadow in the Valles Caldera National Preserve. Photo via Wikipedia.

Staff Report

FRISCO — The National Park Service wants public feedback to help guide the transition in management of Valles Caldera National Preserve from the Valles Caldera Trust to the NPS. The last of three public meetings on the change is set for May 13 in Los Alamos (6-8:30 p.m. MDT, Betty Ehart Senior Center, 1101 Bathtub Row).

In December, Congress designated the preserve as a new unit of the National Park System. The legislation requires that the Valles Caldera Trust be terminated and the management of the area be turned over to the National Park Service. Continue reading “Public lands: New Mexico’s Valles Caldera about to get full national park status”

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Las Conchas Fire started by downed power line

A burned forest landscape along Road 289 within the footprint of the Las Conchas Fire. PHOTO BY BURT STALTER VIA FLICKR.

Wildfire near Los Alamos 19 percent contained after destroying 63 homes

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — New Mexico fire officials said Sunday evening they’ve traced the ignition of the 122,000-acre Las Conchas Fire to an arcing powerline. Investigators were at the scene shortly after the fire started June 26.

They believe the fire started when an aspen tree blew down on to nearby power lines during a wind storm, according to New Mexico State Forester Tony Delfin.

The contact resulted in the line arcing, which then caused the tree to catch fire. Heat and flame caused the line to snap, which then allowed the burning tree to fall onto the ground where the fire spread into nearby vegetation.

The fire has destroyed 63 residences, five commercial properties and 32 outbuildings. Continue reading “Las Conchas Fire started by downed power line”

Firefighters in New Mexico battle to keep 80,000-acre Las Conchas blaze away from Los Alamos nuclear laboratory

U.S. Forest Service closes large parts of Carson National Forest; preventive burns conducted to prevent westward spread of fire

A map showing the extent of the Las Conchas Fire as of June 29, with the most recently burned areas marked in red.
Thick smoke at the Las Conchas Fire in New Mexico. PHOTO BY GLENN SIMPSON, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE VIA FLICKR. Click on the image to see the entire Flickr gallery.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Firefighters in New Mexico Wednesday sprayed roadside vegetation, set preventive fires and even used industrial lawnmowers in their battle to keep the Las Conchas Fire, near Los Alamos, New Mexico, from spreading into the grounds of Los Alamos National Laboratory, even as the fire’s footprint grew by another 10,000 acres to reach a total of more than 80,000 acres by Thursday morning.

The fire started June 26 and the cause is still under investigation. Frequently updated information and links to all other fire info resources are online at Inciweb and and at New Mexico Fire Info.

The Santa Fe New Mexican has aggregated coverage of the fire, including maps and a live blog, at this website. Similarly, the Albuquerque Journal has this website dedicated to coverage of the fire and related issues. Continue reading “Firefighters in New Mexico battle to keep 80,000-acre Las Conchas blaze away from Los Alamos nuclear laboratory”

Las Conchas Fire in New Mexico destroys 12 buildings

No fire burning on Los Alamos National Laboratory lands; air sampling detects no radiation from nuclear facility

The Las Conchas Fire burning in mixed forest near Los Alamos, New Mexico. PHOTO BY GLENN SIMPSON, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE. Click on the photo to see the Flickr feed from the Las Conchas Fire.

SUMMIT COUNTY — The Las Conchas wildfire, burning near Los Alamos, New Mexico, has destroyed 12 buildings and threatens several others as it spread across a 69,000-acre footprint in the past few days.

According to the Albuquerque Journal, the 12 structures are in Cochiti Canyon, above the town and dam of Cochiti Lake, about halfway between Albequerque and Bandelier National Monument. In an email, a staffer with the Albuquerque Journal wrote that most of Bandelier has burned, but that the historic visitor center is OK.

The Journal reports on the fire here, with detailed photo coverage including reader photos.

Officials said in a June 29 briefing that there is currently no fire on the grounds of the Los Alamos National Laboratory and that air sampling has not shown any radioactive materials from lab operations of legacy waste in smoke from the Las Conchas fire. More at the New Mexico Fire Info website.

Firefighters are setting preventive fires at the western edge of the fire to prevent the spread of flames on to the grounds of the laboratory. About 350 firefighters, using 12 engines, four bulldozers and five helicopters, are battling the blaze, which is now 3 percent contained, according to an Inciweb update published June 30.

Excellent coverage of the wildfires in New Mexico, including a continual  live blog, is consolidated online at the Santa Fe New Mexican website. Continue reading “Las Conchas Fire in New Mexico destroys 12 buildings”