Drought - Fire - Flood Email Forum

Personal Stories about fires and floods

MM ()
Wed, 25 Oct 2000 15:49:25 -0600

Do any of you participating in this discussion forum have personal
experiences with wildfires that you would be willing to share with us?
Sometimes these issues become very abstract and theoretical, and it
might be worthwhile to remind ourselves of the utter wildness and power
of the natural world.

Back in 1977 I was a river guide on the Rio Grande west of Santa Fe, and
towards the end of June there was a fire in Bandelier that blew north
towards Los Alamos. On the day the fire was at its peak we floated down
the river watching bombers flying over to drop slurry as a huge cloud of
smoke billowed off the mesa top. We rescued several hikers who had
become trapped in the back country and couldn't get back to their cars,
taking them on our boats out to Cochiti Reservoir. A month later, after
the fire was contained and flash floods had washed debris down the side
canyons, the lake had an enormous log jam of burnt trees.

I've talked with a fire fighter who were in Los Alamos this summer after
the latest round of fires and he said he was totally shocked by the
destruction.....Could we have a situation like Los Alamos (or again in
Oakland) happen in, say, the western reaches of Boulder? How do our
elms and maples compare with pinyons and ponderosas or eucalyptus in
terms of fuel for wildfires?

Mark McCaffrey

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