Wired Magazine On The Southwest Megafires

Wired.com’s article “Megafires May Change the Southwest Forever

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.

We are getting signs of Monsoon weather.

Google Page Rank Update Kills Traffic

Google has apparently made a page rank algorithm update on about June 23rd 2011. I can tell because traffic at greginthedesert.net has dropped to about 1/100 of it’s normal traffic.

This is not the first time a Google PR update has affected traffic negatively and I’m hopeful this will be a temporary situation as it has been before.

A Giant Centipede In Austin Texas


Reddit user DamnColorblindness posted a picture titled “This was waiting for me by the front door this morning“.

I thought maybe the photo was in some tropical foreign country, but this centipede is located in Austin, TX. These are called Texas giant centipedes or Scolopendra heros. Though these can be found in New Mexico, I have never heard of a centipede this big in the Albuquerque area.

Reddit user Jozer99 says centipedes hate you.

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.

While common in Austin, they have painful but not deadly venom. I will take the occasional scorpion over one of these.

On Flickr, I posted a video of a centipede I found while walking on the sidewalk at work in Rio Rancho, NM. It’s 1/1000 the side of the one pictured in Austin.

Raton Track Fire Caused By An ATV


The Raton Track Fire has burned more than 27,000 acres and caused 500 people to be evacuated, was caused by ATV spewing exhaust.

New Mexico State Forestry says exhaust particles from an ATV in the area is what most likely caused the dry brush to catch fire.

According to findings from investigators, the ATV driver or drivers trespassed onto private property then headed onto land owned by the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway.

The Track Fire is 98% contained.

Pacheco Canyon Fire In Santa Fe, New Mexico

Santa Fe, New Mexico Pacheco Canyon Fire As Seen From Rio Rancho by gregjsmith, on Flickr
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.

Wallow Fire Has Burned 500,409 Acres And Is 38% Contained

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.

Wallow Fire Progression Map June 18