10 Disasters Caused By Human Error

10. Controlled Burn Burns Uncontrollably

Controlled burns are a technique often used in forest management to reduce hazards and the likelihood of wildfires. Generally conducted in the cooler months, controlled burns are normally overseen by fire fighters and officials. In May 2000, a controlled burn was conducted near Los Alamos, New Mexico that soon became a forest fire because of high winds and a tremendous drought. The fire burned for a month and destroyed 400 homes in Los Alamos, home to Los Alamos National Weapons Laboratory. If the fire made it that far, things could have been really ugly. More than 48,000 acres were destroyed in the blaze. The starting point was on top of Cerro Grande Mountain. Officials fell under harsh criticism for planning a controlled burn on significantly windy day. However, officials worried that not conducting a burn would result in a wildfire if lightning struck the extremely dry landscape. The fire damaged the Puye Cliff Dwellings, turned the land hydrophobic and seeped soot into some of the laboratories. While no lives were lost, the forest fire cost $1 billion in property damage.
Posted On: 

Hailing from the sandiest of Southern states, Susan enjoys horror films and comic books. She writes many things, but mostly wrongs.