LAFD puts out three spot fires on lab property -- updated with cause

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By John Severance


Los Alamos Fire Department responded to three spot fires at Technical Area 36 on Los Alamos National Laboratory property Thursday afternoon and within in an hour, they were out, according to lab spokesman Kevin Roark.

“There were three small spot fires, less that a quarter acre total,” Roark said.

TA-36 has active firing sites that support explosives testing. Roark said Friday morning the fire was caused by fragments from an explosive site known as Eenie.

“An LAFD crew was on scene, which is standard procedure, but a second truck was called to assist,” Roark said. “ The fire department did an excellent job, and our fire mitigation efforts really paid off, keeping this fire under control and preventing it from spreading. “ 


On Thursday, Chief Troy Hughes said crews spent a fair amount of time  mopping up the grassy area where the fires occurred.

"According to deputy chief Glenn Trehern, crews are working a grid pattern to determine they are no live embers or sparks that would set off another blaze," Hughes said.

All three fires were generally close together, Hughes said. But he did know exactly how far apart they were.

TA-36 is located along Pajarito Road and N.M. 4 in White Rock.

According to AtomicTraveler.com, TA-36 has four active firing sites that support explosives testing. The sites and associated buildings are used for a wide variety of non-nuclear ordnance tests for Department of Defense, which include tests of warhead designs during development, armor and armor-defeating mechanisms, explosives vulnerability to projectile and shaped-charge attack, warhead lethality, and tests to determine the effects of shock waves on explosives and propellants. TA-36 is located in a remote area that is fenced and patrolled. Warning signs are provided at road- blocks, and sirens and flashing lights warn of imminent testing and firing.

 Roark said the three firing sites were called Eenie, Meenie, and Minie and the observation area is called Moe Hill.