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Las Conchas Fire: Handwriting on the wall

The Las Conchas Fire is mercifully coming to an end. Hopefully monsoon rains will finish it off.  
But its effects will be long-lasting, and its size (despite the valiant efforts of firefighters) is alarming.
After the Cerro Grande Fire, Los Alamos National Laboratory held a three-day conference on new concepts in fire suppression.
It was widely recognized that existing suppression technology was badly outdated. The conference included experts from most agencies involved with fire fighting and research.
Several very interesting ideas were forthcoming, but perhaps the most important one was a three-agency collaboration proposing to fight fires primarily from the air and at night when most fires are relatively dormant.
The needed technology was already in hand especially from NASA and the Air Force.
No one said it wouldn’t work, but they did comment that the government wouldn’t pay for it. Two years later, two of us presented this idea to then Rep. Tom Udall.  He was sympathetic but essentially not motivated to do anything.
Perhaps after this year with the two largest fires in New Mexico history and by far the largest one in Arizona plus the fact that nationwide burned acreage is twice the norm, we can get people’s attention.


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