“The Cerro Grande Fire created a sense of community that hasn’t existed here for 50 years.”
How have you felt during times of crisis?
The Cerro Grande Fire was a crisis for the region. It destroyed or damaged the homes of 413 families in Los Alamos. Two eldery residents of Santa Clara Pueblo died as a result of smoke from the fire. The fire burned thousands of acres of San Ildefonso and Santa Clara land, including sacred sites. Parts of Los Alamos National Laboratory land burned, including office trailers holding years of research, but thanks to preventative measures and the efforts of firefighters, no environmental hazards were released. All told, 47,650 acres of forest burned.
New Mexico reeled from the effects of the Cerro Grande Fire. This was a fire set by the National Park Service, and for some people the fire contributed to concerns or mistrust of government agencies in northern New Mexico. The shared crisis also brought people together. Out of communities fragmented by the Manhattan Project, New Mexicans created a community of support and caring as we helped each other heal from the scars of the fire.
Header photo by Vint Miller, courtesy Los Alamos County.
Were you here for the Cerro Grande Fire? Click here to share your story with us and to read stories of resilience from friends and neighbors.
When the Los Alamos History Museum reopens, join us in the Guest Cottage to see Resilience and Regrowth in person. The museum exhibit has the space to share even more photographs, artifacts, and personal stories.
Thank you for your donations that made this exhibit possible!
Nancy and John Bartlit
Stephen A. Becker
Brent and Robyn Collom
John S. Hendricks
Hans and Ryn Hermann
Linda and Bob Hill
Mary Pat Kraemer
Robert C. Moore
Ben and Ruth Neal
Deborah and Rick Reiss
John and Kit Ruminer
Santa Fe New Mexican
Georgia and Gerry Strickfaden
Cherie and Andy Trottier
Roger Waterman and Emily McGay
In creating this online exhibit, the Los Alamos Historical Society is supported by a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the New Mexico Humanities Council.