"Fire scientists are calling it 'the new normal': a time of fires so big and hot that no one can remember anything like it."
"One of the scientists who coined that term is Craig Allen. I drive with him to New Mexico's Bandelier National Monument, where he works for the U.S. Geological Survey. We take a dirt road up into the Jemez Mountains, into a landscape of black poles as far as you can see.
Except they aren't poles. Every single tree is dead. For miles.
'You can tell me the next time you see a green tree,' Allen says. 'I'd like to know the next time you see a live tree.'
This is the Santa Fe National Forest. It's been hammered by fire numerous times since 1996. Last year's Las Conchas fire outdid them all, though. It was the biggest fire ever in New Mexico since records have been kept."
Christopher Joyce reports for NPR's All Things Conaidered August 23, 2012, in the second part of a five-part series.