PEEC Talk: How Las Conchas Fire Affected Valles Caldera Oct. 16

Valles Caldera National Preserve. Courtesy/PEEC

PEEC News:

The community is invited to come to PEEC from 7-8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 16 to hear how the Las Conchas Fire affected the Valles Caldera National Preserve.

Rebecca Oertel, a Forest and Range Plant Ecologist at the VCNP will present the talk.

Oertel grew up in Los Alamos, obtained a degree in biochemistry, and has worked in the Jemez Mountains Area for the past 18 years as a biologist. 

Although she has been at the VCNP for only one year, her extensive experience in the Jemez Mountains includes 11 years as a Biologist at Bandelier National Monument, nine of which was with the U.S. Geological Society under Dr. Craig Allen at the Jemez Mountain Field Station. 

There she performed scientific research in long-term ecological monitoring including botany, ecohydrology, tree demography, and dendrochronology.  

In addition, her checkered background includes biochemical cancer research, EPA Superfund cleanup, Los Alamos National Laboratory environmental monitoring, radioactive materials handling and disposal, and a Helitack wildland firefighter in Santa Fe National Forest.

This informative presentation will include photographs and a dynamic discussion of Las Conchas Fire effects on the VCNP and possible short-term ecological outcomes in the Jemez Mountains. 

Oertel will summarize the extent and severity of the Las Conchas Fire on the ecosystems of the Caldera in the context of the historical fire regime for the area, explore the short and long-term native plant recovery, and give an overview of the Collaborative Landscape Restoration project currently underway at the Preserve.

Free. For more information, visit, call 662-0460, or e-mail

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