Wildfire paper 2 - The Presence and Affects of Wildfires in...

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The Presence and Affects of Wildfires in the Southwest The definition of a wildfire has been re-defined in the past 10-15 years. The wildfires of today are far different from those in the past. They are burning much hotter and higher, than any others in recorded history. As each fire season passes it seems as if it was worse than the previous year. These “mega-fires” are all too common in the American Southwest. Especially in New Mexico and Arizona. From 2002-2003 nearly 1.5 million acres were burned in Arizona and New Mexico. The “Bullock Fire” burned 30,563 acres 15 miles north east of Tucson in May of 2002.Though the “Bullock Fire” only accounted for four percent of total acreage burned in annually in Arizona, it was especially difficult to contain due to the Rocky mountainous terrain. Containment of this fire required 1.3 million gallons of fire retardant. The efforts required too extinguish the blaze cost more than 14,000 dollars. The total cost of the “Bullock Fire” is just a small fraction of the cost of the other Arizona fires. The “Aspen Fire” resulted in the loss of 333 structures and burned over 80,000 acres costing 17,000,000 dollars. The most significant fire of the 2002-2003-fire season was the “Rodeo Chediski Fire” burned nearly a half million acres qualifying it as the largest fire in Arizona history. What has caused the change in fire behavior? Are the “mega-fires” of today the result of the previous fire management strategies? To further understand the reason for the drastic change in fire behavior, knowledge of the fire patterns prior to Anglo settlement of the Southwest is necessary. Since there is no written documentation of wildfires during this time, we must turn to the
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Wildfire paper 2 - The Presence and Affects of Wildfires in...

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