Currently — June 10th, 2022
What you need to know, currently.
Los Alamos, New Mexico sits on one of the four mesas of the Pajarito Plateau. It’s a strange town—the birthplace of the atomic bomb laid out as a strip mall, where a storefront labeled “News From Mars” plays slideshows from the rover down the street from a Subway sandwich shop. It’s in the middle of the most beautiful part of the country I’ve ever seen, but it’s also one of two sites in the United States that manufacture plutonium cores for bombs and it’s quite vulnerable to wildfires.
New Mexico’s fire season started early this year. Climate change has contributed to a long term drought in the region, which has been exacerbated by La Niña and in April a prescribed burn at Hermit’s Peak grew beyond firefighters capacity to control. Some of this is because of overactive fire suppression, which has allowed the forests’ undergrowth to turn the woods into a tinderbox.
“Many of these forests, naturally speaking, are adapted to burn,” fire ecologist, Blanca Cespedes, told the New York Times. “Fire suppression policies have allowed us to live in this territory, but also created a forest that is hyper-dense in fuels.”