Forest Service Says Climate Change And Backlog Contributed To Massive New Mexico Wildfire

U.S. Forest Service Internal Assessment Climate change, federal bureaucracy, and untapped weather contribute to the largest wildfires in the history of the United States and New Mexico this year.

On April 6, forest service workers began ordering a fire in the Santa Fe National Forest above Las Vegas, New Mexico. Within hours, turbulent winds caused uncontrollable fires outside the planned area, and the event was called Hermit Peak Fire.

The fire was sparked by a winter-long wildfire in the nearby Calf Canyon – which was brought back to life in April with unimaginable heat, wind and drought.

In the weeks that followed, the Hermit Peak-Calf Canyon Complex set fire to a 45-mile-long southern corridor of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, including the most rugged areas in the southwest. Hundreds of homes and more than 341,000 hectares of land were burned, and nearly 50,000 residents were displaced for weeks and cattle were destroyed. Fortunately, human life was not lost.

Planned fires have been delayed for a long time.

The galvanas-las dispensas-ordered fire assessment, which started the Hermit Peak fire, was released earlier this month by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Forest Service. The document is over 80 pages long, including a brief account of what happened on April 6, which begins with a normal fire.

More from FORBESThe giant Southwest Wildfire Forest Service has asked for a temporary halt to the ordered fire

During the planned fires, the workers were in trouble with their radios, but during the first few hours, the team seemed to have nothing to worry about as they removed the dangerous fuels from the forest.

The fire has been in operation for years but is often delayed and then re-approved, often without updating. It was part of a plan to reduce the fire caused by a nearby fire in 2000, which for some time had a significant impact on the water supply of Las Vegas residents.

On April 6, at around 3pm, the wind began to move, blowing coals and igniting small fires. Workers stopped firing in the area to focus on controlling the area. According to radio records on 3 ፡ 55, everything still seems to be under control.

“Burn Boss reports that there is no threat, that there are several areas on Bravo and that all lighting operations have been stopped.”

Then the wind continued to move.

At 4 p.m., Burns reported dozens or more fires and requested additional equipment. Fires began to grow together and ran over the canyon. Wrong winds at 4 ፡ 20 have seen fires on the west, north and east sides of the line. In District 28, Ranger was told that the situation was quickly out of control. Two minutes later, the fire spread to the top of the tree, and it ran up the hill. Now it was clear that there was a wildfire in their hands. The official announcement of the wildfire reached 38 p.m.

Climate and other complications

The fire has been raging for more than two months and has recently been wiped out by heavy rains. A.D. As of June 29, 93 percent of the fires were contained, and some smoke was still reported.

“Drought, severe weather, wind conditions and unpredictable weather are challenging our ability to use firefighting equipment as a weapon to combat fires,” Randy Moore, head of forest services, wrote in a preliminary review.

Although wind and weather conditions are within acceptable limits, winds of more than 70 miles per hour, along with hot and dry conditions, will continue to spread until late April and May.

“The post-operative fire analysis on fuel and weather shows that the application occurred in more dry conditions than previously known,” the review reads.

A few days before the planned fire, light snow had fallen in the area, making the decision to move forward more secure.

“Clear recognition and recognition of long-term droughts and climatic conditions and short-term weather events would lead to a better understanding of the fire environment and better results,” the section of the document lists the lessons learned. .

Other confusing issues include an out-of-service weather station, forcing firefighters to rely on another site that does not represent the actual conditions on the ground. Communication issues do not understand, nor does the fact of working in the US Forest Service in 2022 help.

“Competition obligations limit manpower priority and ability to focus on designated fire projects. “These promises, coupled with the opportunity to implement them in a narrow window with the staff, were good for the smoke dispersal and led to an unexpected accident by predicting that the location of the fire was prescribed by a doctor.”

Still smoking back reaction

As the fire spread, local residents and politicians in New Mexico, including Governor Michel Lujan Grisham, demanded accountability. On May 20, Moore launched a 90-day cold spell on all ordered forest fires. President Biden visited New Mexico for a short visit in June and assured the residents that the federal government would take responsibility for the fire.

The report only reports on Hermite Peak fires, but Moore briefly acknowledges the calf canyon fire that comes to life during the April hurricane and joins the April 6 fire.

“This summer’s massive logging fire that began in New Mexico in January has been burning underground for months, continuing with several snowstorms and icy temperatures, before re-igniting like wildfire,” he wrote. “Such an event was not known until recently, in addition to the experience of forest service working in these landscapes.”

Governor Lujan Grisham also expressed her displeasure last week in a statement describing the “multiple wrongs” described in the review.

“It is very difficult to understand how the plan, which was designed many years ago, will be re-approved without adjusting or considering the improved drought conditions, and it is very difficult to understand how this plan will work without any information on the weather in the new season. Mexicans know this is especially windy year.

Rainfall in New Mexico was a temporary relief from wildfires, but affected communities had to move quickly to prepare for flooding.

Articles You Might Like

Share This Article