Lissa and I took a drive Sunday up State Route 4 through the Jemez to look at the big Las Conchas burn one year later.
A couple of points worth noting:
- Miles of forest that has not burned
- Lots of forest that burned healthy (sprouting aspen on the forest floor)
- Elk grazing in the Valle Grande
But recall I promised to be optimistic. The drive up State Route 4 into the heart of the Jemez passes through mile after mile of unburned forest. In some areas, Marlon’s deficit is obvious — woods thickly overgrown with fuel just waiting for another downed power line or dry lightning strike.
But there are miles where crews have begun to try to fix things — clearing the thickets, carefully reintroducing fire through prescribed burning. And then there are patches like the woods I drove through down Forest Road 289, where wildfire just did what it is supposed to do, clearing out the undergrowth and leaving a healthy forest behind.