As we descended into ABQ on our flight from Portland last Sunday, we noticed a large smoke plume over the Jemez mountains. Once on the ground, we learned that a large fire had started near Las Conchas and was spreading rapidly. By the time we arrived home, the plume dominated the sky over Los Alamos.
As we unloaded all of our ski gear from our Rainier trip, we noticed that our neighbors we all packing up their cars. We soon learned that a voluntary evacuation had been announced. A mandatory evacuation followed the next morning. After just one night in our own bed, we loaded up our still-wet camping gear and hit the road.
As we left town, we passed numerous National Guard vehicles which were helping with the evacuation.
Pajarito Mountain from the Omega Bridge
We're still not sure how badly the fire hit our beloved ski hill, but we do know that at least one of the ski lifts (Spruce) is on the ground.
After a week of evacuation, we were cleared to return home on Sunday. The fire was still only 10% contained, but it had moved well north of Los Alamos.
smoke-filled canyons before a glowing sun
smoke plume as seen from the main hill overlook
A smokey, scarred Caballo Mountain stands over the numerous fire-fighting aircraft staged at the LA airport
one of the two enormous Air Cranes staged at the LA airport (Note the two technicians working on the main rotor.)
July 5, looking toward the northern end of the Jemez from the horse stables on North Mesa
July 6 - Sarah and I went for a short run on Kwage Mesa. Many hot spots flared up today, and the skies were busy.
panorama of the Jemez Mountains from Kwage Mesa
Bell helicopter with a bucket in tow as it passes over Pajarito Mountain
Air Crane taking off from Los Alamos Airport
another shot of an Air Crane taking off from the Los Alamos Airport
Just after sunset, the two Air Cranes returned to the airport. I think they were working primarily in the north, returning to the airport only for refueling. Maybe they were getting water out of the Abiquiu Reservoir.
The second one flew really close above our heads. I didn't have time to get out from behind the trees.