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Local Staff Ride Archive

Stand 1 - Frijoles Canyon Overlook

The Cerro Grande Fire began as the Upper Frijoles Prescribed Burn on the Bandelier National Monument. It escaped prescription on May 5, 2000 and became know as the Cerro Grande Fire due to the fire being on Cerro Grande Mountain, a prominent geographic feature of the area.

The town of Los Alamos and adjacent Los Alamos National Laboratories (LANL) had been threatened previously by fire. The La Mesa Fire occurred in 1977 and burned 15,300 acres, taking 10 days to control. The fire did not serve as a wake up call for land management agencies or LANL.

In 1996 the Dome Fire threatened LANL and Los Alamos and was another huge wake up call. During this fire, there was a fire engine burned over and deployment of first shelters. As a result of the Dome Fire, a local "Interagency Working Team" was organized. The teams focus was hazardous fuels reduction, interagency communications, and cooperation. The team consisted of: Department of Energy, LANL, Santa Fe National Forest, New Mexico State Forestry Division, Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the National Park Service.

Bandelier National Monument had an approved Management Plan in 1997 that allowed for a full range of management including; suppression, wildland fire use, and prescribed fire. A 10-year prescribed fire program of work was identified in the plan. The primary fire management concern in the Park was Upper Frijoles Canyon. Park fire managers were concerned that a potential ignition during extreme fire danger would burn out of the Park, threatening the town of Los Alamos and LANL.

As you approach the staff ride area from Los Alamos you will see Cerro Grande Peak and the fire scar from the May 2000 Cerro Grande Fire. This picture was taken from the Bandelier Fire Center on August 2005.

There is an established parking area that can be used for the staff ride. This is a view of the parking area as you approach from the east (Los Alamos) on Highway 4. The parking area has room for approximately 15 vehicles.

A good site for Stand 1 is these rocks at the head of Frijoles Canyon looking down the canyon toward the Bandelier National Monument Headquarters. This location is about 100 yards south of Highway 4 and about mile east of the parking area.