Causes of Fires

The Las Conchas Fire of 2011 Was Not Caused by Nature: It was a Power Line Fire Caused by the Jemez Mountains Electric Cooperative 

Las Conchas Fire Lawyers have hired some of the nation’s top experts to determine the cause of the 2011 Las Conchas Fire, the largest in New Mexico history at the time. Under an agreement with the U.S. Forest Service, Jemez Mountains Electric Cooperative (JMEC) has a legal right to run power lines through the Santa Fe National Forest.  JMEC is responsible for proper maintenance of the power lines.  Based on state and federal investigations, the Las Conchas Fire was caused when a visibly rotted tree fell on JMEC lines, breaking them and igniting a fire.

The New Mexico Forestry Division and U.S. Forest Service investigated the cause of the Las Conchas Fire and quickly located the source – an aspen tree that had fallen over JMEC’s power lines.  According to the state’s report, foresters participating in the investigation observed that the tree exhibited an “unstable condition” that appeared to be a result of a disease such “root rot.”  Furthermore, the south side of the tree “appeared to be the only living portion of the lower tree trunk.” Natural causes were eliminated as a cause of the fire.