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My woof on New Mexico fires


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My travels with Pets Gone Green University  (PGGU) recently took me to Albuquerque, New Mexico (NM); yep you got it, just when wild fires were blazin’. The day Los Alamos residents were leaving their city (6/27/2011) we were on the road to northern New Mexico and Taos. In fact, our Taos hotel put out a call to evacuees, their rooms would be free. Dogs and their people (along with a few felines) took up residence not knowing how long their stay might be. Of course, my transcriber Mom met a few people (and some of their misbehaved dogs) taking note of their stressful fire and smoke accounts. Most had packed what they could in their cars and left, doubtful they would ever see their homes again or be able to return to work at the Los Alamos National Labs.

It likely an aspen tree – that blew down in a windstorm, which in turn knocked out  nearby power lines – set off the Las Conchas (Los Alamos)  
fire. The fire advanced rapidly due to strong winds, a week later rains fell allowing firefighters to make giant strides in containing it. This is already the largest fire in NM history. As of this writing, the fire is still burning. Los Alamos residents have been able to return home as fire growth has slowed down.

According to NM forestry division reports, the last three of New Mexico’s largest forest fires have taken place in the past 10 years. According to the Christian Science Monitor(CSM), “While big fires have happened before in New Mexico, scientists see a recent pattern that may be the most severe since the last Ice Age. Among the causes: fuel buildup due to fire suppression, a decline in annual snowpack, and a warmer climate.” This was the conclusion of University of New Mexico geologist, Grant Meyer, who studies climate interaction and weather conditions. He said, part of it as well and the data is very good on this, “it’s climatic warming – human industrial activity and land-use changes have pumped increasing amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.”

At the end of the day I say, “This is just doggone common sense” from CSM, “a long-term average decline in annual snow pack provides the bulk of the region’s water, along with rising average temperatures means the fire season is longer and fuel is more dried out.” Who can argue with that?

Read my Examiner post on how a Taos citizen action effectively shut down a giant consumer fireworks sales tent.

Cedar Dog





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