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A New Mexico firewatcher describes watching his world burn

By: Alice Dai

On June 4th, a wildfire took place in New Mexico. A man named Philip Connors, a tree enthusiast witnessed this event. He reports that on June 4, he went outside and grabbed his belongings for a hike. When he came back, he was upset to see that the surrounding trees had die due to the raging wildfire that was spreading.

The news explains that “Connors, who is also a writer, deeply loves the forest he has watched over every summer for the past 20 years. But it was a different forest two decades ago and will be even more changed once the flames die down.” He noticed the climate was warmer, this might be the reason why the wildfire started. Connor said, “Now it's almost like the tables are turned like it is in need of solace because big chunks of it are being transformed and going away.”

Because of the hot weather, more plants dry up and die. The news states that Connors “notices the signs everywhere. At the highest elevations, the oldest conifers used to be snowed in through late March. Now that there is less snow, and the soil is drier.”

The fire started on May 13. Connors was there and watched as it grew bigger and bigger. The article reports that “the Black Fire started on May 13, and Connors watched it grow into a mega-fire.” More animals are suspectable of death because of wildfires. Such animals include salamanders, pocket gophers, tree frogs, elk, deer, and black bears. The news states that “the Gila Wilderness will never be the same for the Gila trout, salamanders, pocket gophers, tree frogs, elk, deer, and black bears, or for Connors. But he'll observe the burn scars and how the forest heals. He says his responsibility is to "see what it wants to become next."

This is important because when fires happen, the animals who live in the forest will die or get injured. Wildfires can also increase the amount of endangered animals and some might become totally extinct! In addition, the fire was causing damage to the world. The news reports that “after his regular lookout was evacuated, he was moved to another where the fire had already burned over. Connors said the spruce, pine, and fir forests at high elevations are vanishing from his part of the world.”

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