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A handful of wildfires has charred nearly 100 square miles of dry, rugged terrain around New Mexico since the end of May.
The largest fire, the 39-square-mile Silver Fire, was still raging in the Gila National Forest on Tuesday, but teams of scientists have already started scouring scorched areas in an effort to assess the damage and prepare for the post-fire threats of erosion and flooding.
The teams are looking at the severity of the burns, damage to the soil and possible effects to streams, roads, wildlife habitat and private property.
Rain has already brought rocks, dirt and charred debris down from some of the mountainsides burned by the Tres Lagunas Fire north of Pecos.
“This is part of nature — fires are part of nature and rains are part of nature,” said Beth Mitchell, a specialist with the Burned Area Emergency Response team assigned to the fire. “The truth is as much as we all work together and do the very best we possibly can, there’s no way we can completely stop the effects of the rains in the fire areas.”
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