ForWarn II

Satellite-Based Change Recognition and Tracking

Reburning the Jemez Mountains


More information about this event

Disturbance Type(s): Fire

ForWarn's MODIS satellite-based products go back to 2000, and this allows us to observe the effects of wildfire and recovery since early in the decade. In exceptional cases, areas can reburn and this provides us with long-term monitoring insights into how vegetation is affected by a return in frequent fire. A portion of Santa Fe National Forest near Los Alamos, NM is one such area that has been reburned by wildfire in recent years. Portions of the 2000 Cerro Grande Fire were reburned in 2011 by the Las Conchas Fire. Our continuous 8 day NDVI time series shows that at this one site the 2000 fire was severe, as it dropped NDVI to a very low level which persisted for years. Historical research suggests that such a dramatic loss of tree cover was not typical here and it can be explained by unusual tree densities and heavy fuels caused by fire suppression leading up to the 2000 event. While the more open forests of the past were sustained by frequent fire, it is unclear if this combination of high severity, then high frequency wildfire will lead to restoration or type conversion across pine forests of the Southwest.

Click here to monitor long term fire effects in this landscape: