During a tour of the Los Alamos Reservoir in July 2011, the impact of the Los Conchas fire was not yet evident. The slopes of the canyon looked stable, greenery was already showing in the back-burned forest and the road leading to the reservoir was intact.
After winter snows and flood events last summer and again last week, the canyon has undergone a major alteration. Fallen trees and other debris litter the canyon floor. A bulldozer has etched out a precarious path along what used to be the road. A dump truck is buried to its axle in mud next to West Road.
It has gotten so bad that West Road will be closed to vehicle traffic beginning today. The road closure is expected to extend several weeks until the end of the summer monsoon season.