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Archive for June, 2014

Black Ghosts in the Dome Wilderness

Posted by O'Maolchaithaigh on June 5, 2014

The Dome Fire burned in the Jemez Mountains in the northern portion of the state of New Mexico. Devastating portions of the Santa Fe National Forest and Bandelier National Monument, the fire exploded on April 26, 1996, starting from an improperly extinguished campfire. 16,516 acres in Capulin Canyon and the Dome Wilderness were burned.  The fire was fought by over 900 firefighters. In 2011, the Las Conchas fire reburned the wilderness area almost completely. Congress designated the Dome Wilderness in 1980. The Dome Fire burned the majority of the wilderness. The area was closed under a Santa Fe National Forest Closure Order.

On May 30, 2014, I hiked through a small part of the area. I was struck by the fact that all the trees had been burnt, to the ground. In fact, I could see portions of roots that stuck out above ground burnt. Everywhere I looked the trees remained as black ghosts of their former selves. In some case, due to the destruction of the soil, extreme flooding brought down centuries-old Ponderosa Pines, breaking them up like matchsticks, or simply pulling them out of the ground.053014 Dome Trail 1

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