The historic wildfires in New Mexico have triggered containment and evacuations at the local, state, and federal levels. The yet-to-be contained fires have incinerated over 280,000 acres of land since the beginning of April, while the Hermits Peak Fire, just east of Santa Fe, has burned more acreage than all wildfires in New Mexico last year. So far, at least 30,000 people have had to flee their homes.
New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham called this year’s wildfire season “dangerously early,” but premature fire seasons catching local, state, or federal authorities off-guard has long been a concern for fire managers and fire researchers. To get ahead of that problem, some members of Congress have a solution. But that legislation hit a bureaucratic roadblock last autumn and has basically died.
Last year, during a Congressional hearing on the state of wildfire research, researchers and fire managers said that coordination among federal agencies to improve wildfire research would be tremendously helpful to prepare for future fires. Partnerships between research agencies, like NOAA, and forest management... Read more