Tuesday, September 27, 2011

"I couldn't thing of anywhere I would have rather been...

...to watch it all burn." Grapevine Fires by Death Cab For Cutie

Hello friends - first of all, thank you so much for all your prayers and encouragement during the Las Conchas fire incident. Thanks to the Lord's Providence and the incredible planning and implementation of the fire-safety personel in Los Alamos (who gave a fabulous response and learned so much from the Cerro Grande fire back in 2000) the fire didn't get to Los Alamos at all--and even our Pajarito ski lodge was spared. Yay!

The fire is out in the wilderness of the mountains now, and as of August 3, though it was completely controlled, the officials say it will continue to smolder until a significant amount of moisture comes to the area--which could be any amount of time, in New Mexico. Here's the official info, if you are interested.

Before it was completely contained, though, I went to visit the homeland, and my dad took us on a drive up in the mountains to see the damage to some of our favorite haunts. The smoke and lighting made the entire scene incredibly dramatic. Here's the pictures:

Smoke Plume off State Road 4 (photo by my sister)

Valle Grande Scorch (photo by my sister)

New Grass after burn, Valle Grande (photo mine)

Tracks in the Ash, Valle Grande (photo mine)

Smokey View of the Burn Tide Swell, Valle Grande (Photo mine)

Firefighting Chopper (Picture Mine)

Haze Across the Valle Toward the Burn (photo mine)

Exact Same Spot, facing away from burn on the Valle (photo mine) 
Prairie Dogs Considering Evacuation on the Valle (photo mine)

Crows overlooking the Burn on the Valle (Photo mine)

Distant Deer on the Valle in the Smoke (Photo mine)

Healthy/burned forest in the Jemez (photo mine)
All the pictures down into the valley and across the grasslands are  of the Valle Grande, or Valles Caldera National Preserve, formerly the Baca Ranch. We were excited to be allowed to drive onto it--it's usually closed to the public since it's a National Preserve - I've only been on it once before.

For those of you movie buffs out there, you might recognize this as the setting for Tommy Lee Jones and Cate Blanchett's The Missing (2003) or Gregory Peck's Shoot Out (1971). Actually, come to think of it, if you saw Tim Allen and John Travolta's Wild Hogs (2007) the hot springs scene was filmed in Los Conchas, which is just outside the preserve. To see a comprehensive list of the movies filmed here, the Caldera has a descriptive page. It's cool because all the buildings set for the Gregory Peck movie are still there, visible from the road. And they didn't even burn! :)

So as you can see, all was not lost. :) My mom tells me that they drove up to look again a week or two later, and the Valle was so green and healthy looking, the only thing that was still sad and burned looking was all the trees. Praise the Lord!

Much love!

1 comment:

Marianne said...

Beautiful photos. I haven't checked it out yet, so you gave me a glimpse.