July 29th, 2011

snakes

Bear in the Air

Yay! It appears that LJ has stabilized! Oh, LJ. How I've missed you! *unfs Frank*

I'll have to post some pics from my adventure yesterday. I once again had the opportunity to fly all over the state. Someone arranged a flight to check out the burned areas from the recent forest fires which have been the largest in the State's history. The person who scheduled it ended up not being able to go so I was tagged since I must have a rap of having mad photography skillz. There has been a lot of concern about flash flooding since we are now in our rainy season and steep slopes are bare of all vegetation. Some areas really got cooked. Just the other day one of our smaller reservoirs had a flash flood come into it. I did a quick back-of-the-envelope calculation of the inflow (since the inflow gage got wiped out) and I came up with 1000 cfs over the period of about 30 minutes. Normally the creek flows at about 5 cfs this time of year. That drainage basin was one of the targets for the flight. Hoo boy! The entire upper watershed is black! Whole hillslopes are just black matchsticks. If we get a decent thunderstorm over the basin (which is a high likelihood since the top of the basin is at 12,000'), there could be more significant flooding.

We also flew over the burned area around Los Alamos. The story was pretty much the same. Whole upper watersheds were toasted. The concern here is that most of the drainages enter Cochiti Reservoir which is not one of ours but it still effects the Rio Grande below it. Both ABQ and Santa Fe have stopped getting their drinking water from the river because ash has been washing down into the Rio Grande which messes up their filtration process.

Once again, it's being able to do cool shit like this that keeps me in this job.