The plants and animals of the southwestern United States are adapted to fire, but not to the sort of super-sized, super-intense fires now raging in Arizona.
The product of drought and human mismanagement, these so-called megafires may change the southwest’s ecology. Mountainside Ponderosa forests could be erased, possibly forever. Fire may become the latest way in which people are profoundly altering modern landscapes.
The two closest fires to me are still burning. The Las Conchas Fire in the Jemez Mountains near Las Alamos is at 92,735 and is close to being the largest fire in New Mexico. The Pacheco Fire near Santa Fe and the Pecos Wilderness has burned a measly 10,000 acres and is 24% contained.
The Donaldson fire is much more south of me but has burned over 43,000 acres.
I figure it was only a matter of time, with the dry windy weather conditions, that there would be a fire in Jemez. The official name of the fire is the Las Conchas Fire and it’s putting on a spectacular smoke display (and not in a good way).
Careful with centipedes. I did some graduate research on these little beasts, and came away with new-found fear and loathing.
Snakes only bite you if they feel threatened by you. Sharks want to eat seals, don’t look like a seal and you are A-OK. Tarantulas are more afraid of you then you are of them. Bees are just defending their nest from perceived threats.
On the other hand, centipedes hate you. Not just humans, you in particular. Centipedes are remarkable in that they have a special individual loathing for every creature on the planet, as well as many inanimate objects. If a centipede can sense your presence, it wants to do nothing more than to fuck you up. You don’t have to poke it with a stick, or step to near its nest, you just have to be somewhere nearby, and a centipede is more than happy to kamikaze you. It doesn’t help that many centipedes have poisonous front legs that have evolved into giant needle like pincers, and despite having several dozen legs, many larger centipedes are capable of moving at close to 10 miles per hour. They are also armor plated and are nearly impossible to squash. Centipedes spend their lives wandering around and picking fights with whatever creatures they happen to meet, be they insects, spiders, birds or even small mammals. They usually win, munch on their victims a bit, then move on to the next helpless victim.
Stay the fuck away from centipedes.
Santa Fe, New Mexico Pacheco Canyon Fire As Seen From Rio Rancho
Say hello to New Mexico’s newest fire, the Pacheco Canyon Fire In Santa Fe. The fire was visible from my house in Rio Rancho on the day it started but I haven’t been able to see it since Saturday. On Sunday there was too much smoke from the Arizona Wallow fire to see much of anything.
InciWeb says the fire has burned over 3000 acres and describes it as extreme.
In Albuquerque, we haven’t had a whole lot of smoke in the last few days. It’s mostly been blowing south of the city. InciWeb says that 32 residences has been destroyed, which is impressive considering this is now the largest fire in Arizona’s history at over 500,000 acres.
The 4000 people fighting this fire deserve far more credit than I can possible give.
I posted a screen capture of The Weather Channel’s iOS app on my flicker account showing the 0% chance of rain for the next week. That was a few days ago and there is still 0% chance of rain for the next week.
Albuquerque Fire Chief James Breen, along with Mayor Richard J. Berry and Public Safety Director Darren White announced Stage II Fire Restrictions in the Open Space Areas effective June 14, 2011, 12:01 a.m.
Extreme Fire Danger
Stage II Fire Restrictions are being implemented due to the extreme fire danger in Open Space Areas located within the municipal boundaries of the City of Albuquerque.
The decision to implement greater fire restrictions is based on current fire indices, fire behavior predictions, current and expected weather conditions, drought indexes, human factors, and ignition factors. Additionally, there is high fire activity throughout the State of New Mexico and outside agency resources to assist with the suppression of new wildland fires is limited.
Stage II Restrictions intensifies the restrictions from Stage I by focusing on activities that, although normally managed under permit or contract, have a relatively high risk of causing a fire.
Stage II Fire Restrictions prohibit the following activities in Open Space Areas:
Building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, open flame, campfire or stove fire Smoking
Possessing, discharging or using any kind of fireworks or other pyrotechnic device
Possessing or using a motor vehicle off any publicly designated roadways, except when parking in developed parking lots or at developed trailheads
Operating a chainsaw or other equipment powered by an internal combustion engine
Operating any piece of spark-emitting equipment
Operating any internal or external combustion engine
Welding, or operating an acetylene or other torch with an open flame
Camping or overnight stay
Open Space Areas
Open Space areas include:
Lands zoned or designated as open space in the City’s adopted Plan for Major Public Open Space and acquired by the City
Bosque or Bosque Areas
Rio Grande State Park
Wildlands Areas and wildlands and urban interface areas
Major named arroyos
Lined or unlined drain-ways
Retention dams and retention pond areas and abutting rights-of-way or easements which have been publicly acquired
Any open lands for which the City has assumed control or management responsibility by lease, easement, or legal agreement.
The fire is 10% contained. Currently the fire is not threatening Eagar and Springerville area. On the eastern side of the fire, fire behavior was moderate. Today’s activities include mop-up and hazard tree removal in the Alpine, Nutrioso, and Tal Wi Wi areas. Mop-up is underway in the South Fork area following the burnout operation conducted last night. Burnout operations were completed along FR 220 south to US 180, northwest of Luna, NM.
While the shrinking snowpack in the 20th and early 21st centuries is not unprecedented from a climate-history standpoint, at no time in the past 800 years have so many people relied so heavily on these winter snows for their fresh water. The rivers and the drainage basins that feed them provide as much as 80 percent of the water used for irrigation, power generation, and other purposes by some 70 million people, according to the study.