In June of 2011, the Las Conchas fire ripped through  hundreds of thousands of acres of forest in northern New Mexico. Deemed a man-made blaze, it screamed toward the town of Los Alamos, New Mexico at an alarming rate. Los Alamos, NM was the victim of another fire, the Cerro Grande Fire in May of 2000, and the damage from that fire actually served to save the city from the hotter, faster, stronger Las Conchas. Some of the only un-burned trees left from the Cerro Grande fire were on Pajarito Mountain, the local ski resort.

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If it were not for the efforts of fire fighters to save this landmark in the New Mexico forest, a large quantity of the people living in the city of Los Alamos would have probably lost all hope in their future in the area. Many have moved away, but some remain in the small mountain town, living their daily lives, and enjoying the parts of the forest that survived.

Los Alamos has a population of about twelve thousand today. Most of the people work a single industry, the science laboratory.


Chris Judson
08/22/2012 7:31pm

Las Conchas was an amazingly huge, fast, and damaging fire, but this portrayal is a bit overl the top. In the 156,500 acres within the perimeter of the fire, there actually are many areas with surviving trees, pines, aspens, others. Los Alamos is small, but not that small, especially since it neighbors the National Laboratory where thousands of people work. People in Los Alamos don't live day-to-day any more than people anywhere else do, especially since the Las Conchas Fire didn't come into town. Structures and homes were burned in other parts of the fire area, but not actually in Los Alamos (by contrast, 400+ families lost their homes in the Cerro Grande Fire in 2000). People interested in coming to Los Alamos for the history, museums, art, etc, should definitely come! The surrounding park areas, the Valles Caldera National Preserve and Bandelier National Monument, each had fire in more than a third of their area, but are gorgeous and very much worth visiting.

08/23/2012 4:54pm

Hello Chris Judson,

Thank you so much for your comment. The information in this article was based on personal interviews of locals, so thank you for providing an additional perspective.

The population quoted is according to the 2010 census. I would consider this a credible source to cite a population.


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