LANL study examines chances of wildfire ‘re-burns’

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – New research released from the Los Alamos National Laboratory brought up another concern following last year’s wildfires – the chance of re-burns. 

11 U.S. states were reviewed for this topic, including New Mexico.

Los Alamos National Laboratory Hydrologist Kurt Solander was a part of this study. He answered the biggest question on everyone’s mind: 

“What effect could this have on the hardest hit communities that have already seen fires in recent years?” 

“I would say that places that have been hit very recently are not going to have to worry about something in the near future,” said Solander. “We will have to make sure to treat these areas, or at least pay attention to these areas to prevent from happening again.” 

From the research, three main factors play a role in re-burns: 

  • Seasonal temperatures 
  • Moisture loss from vegetation 
  • Wind speed

So what do these three factors have in common? The change in climate. 

In the next 20 years for example, is it going to continue to increase those chances, because climate change could feed into this issue where re-burns could become more frequent?

“We are going to see those drier conditions more frequently, and we’re going to see the conditions primed for those re-burns to happen,” said Solander.