It is impossible to live in the southwestern United States in recent years without constant worry about fire in the summers. This year has so far contained a lot of worry. The large fires in the Pecos wilderness and the Jemez Mountains seem to be under good control now, but there are more.
The sign pictured above was blocking the trail to Nambe Lake. I was not headed there as I knew it was in the previously closed Pecos Wilderness (closed for a month now but people still were milling around this sign flabbergasted that they had hiked a mile up from the trailhead and now couldn't go any further except up the steep route I had just come down). The burning of the southwest and the continuing drought is, I believe, directly related to climate change. I don't think the drought is going to lessen in any long-term way any time soon. I am no climatologist, but I do think Al Gore had a point a decade ago. There have been multiple large fires in New Mexico and my newest worry is the huge West Fork fire that started west of Wolf Creek Pass, CO, crested the Divide on Friday and is heading like a steamroller for the San Luis Valley. South Fork has been evacuated since Friday and the windy conditions and beetle-killed pine make it a fierce threat. Not only to people in South Fork but to people farther east and north. Lives change in the line of fire. (Here is a link to some amazing photos taken by one of the hotshot crews a few days ago. http://www.9news.com/news/local/article/341045/346/West-Fork-Complex-Fire-Town-of-South-Fork-evacuated-)
And the most impressive photo:
I was standing on the top of Deception Peak today and spotted this small fire (red arrow) a ways to the north of the line of burned trees (blue arrow) left from the recent Pecos fire. I hope it is a spot fire that they are monitoring and not a new blaze.
I think all we really can do is Be Here Now. (And please don't start forest fires.)
We can also support our wildland firefighters. I doubt there is a more difficult or dangerous job.