US Forest Service burn started wildfire that nearly reached Los Alamos, New Mexico, agency says

Posted at 1:13 PM, Jul 25, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-25 15:13:24-04

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The U.S. Forest Service says its own prescribed burn started a 2022 wildfire that nearly reached Los Alamos, New Mexico.

The agency on Monday published findings of its investigation into causes of the Cerro Pelado fire that burned across more than 60 square miles and crept within a few miles of the city of Los Alamos and its companion U.S. national security lab.

Investigations traced the April 2022 outbreak of the wildfire under dry conditions to smoldering remains of a prescribed burn of forest debris commissioned by the Forest Service earlier in the winter.

The revelation prompted immediate rebukes against the Forest Service by New Mexico political leaders.