.....Advertisement.....
.....Advertisement.....

Las Conchas wildfire at 60,000+ acres; Los Alamos under mandatory evacuation -- photos added

-A A +A

A wind-whipped wildfire in Jemez Springs has charred roughly 60,000 acres and  the Los Alamos Fire Department and other agencies ratcheted up their efforts to battle the blaze.

Previous
Play
Next

County officials issued a mandatory evacuation for Los Alamos Town Site and residents left Monday afternoon.

Shelters open at this time are the Santa Claran Resort Center, Cities of Gold Casino and Pojoaque High School. 

A Type I Incident Management has been ordered and in its latest advisory, the Forest Service said, seven Hotshot crews (Type 1 crews), 12 Type 2 Crews, 7 engines, and 20 aircraft (12 air tankers and 8 helicopters). 

"This is an interagency fire fighting effort," Forest Service spokesman Lawrence Lujan said. "In fire management we all work together. We are working with local, state and federal agencies."

Los Alamos National Laboratory activated its Emergency Operations Center and announced it would be closed Monday. The blaze had spread onto one acre of lab property, but it was extinguished.

All laboratory facilities will be closed for all activities and nonessential employees are directed to remain off site. Personnel are considered nonessential unless they have received specific instructions to report to the laboratory.

Employees should check lamonitor.com, the LANL Update Hotline
(505-667-6622) and the LANL web page (www.lanl.gov) for updates.

All radioactive and hazardous material is appropriately accounted for and protected. LANL staff is coordinating the on-site response and supporting the county and federal fire response.

LANL emergency crews have been dispatched to areas across the Laboratory to protect key facilities and materials from a rapidly-advancing wild fire, officials announced Sunday night. Protected areas include all hazardous and radioactive materials facilities as well as LANL’s proton accelerator and supercomputing centers.

A special task force was dispatched to Water Canyon to protect LANL facilities there and Lab heavy equipment is assisting Los Alamos County and federal fire crews.

Environmental and weather monitoring personnel have been mobilized.

Lab director Charles McMillan said LANL crews and heavy equipment are working to assist County and federal firefighting crews. “They have our complete cooperation. Our emergency response capabilities are fully mobilized,” McMillan said.

“I’m asking all our employees to stay clear of the Lab so the fire crews
can do their jobs. And please keep those crews in your thoughts tonight.”
“We’ve been in contact with (NNSA Administrator) Tom D’Agostino as well as
senior DOE officials,” said NNSA Los Alamos Site Office Manager Kevin
Smith. “They are ready to support the Laboratory and people of Los Alamos
County with additional resources as needed.”

The lab’s Emergency Operations Center has been activated. Media can reach a Joint Information Center at 2209 Miguel Chavez Road, Santa Fe. Phone 505-820-1226.

At 11 a.m. Monday, this is the Forest Service Report: 

 

Fire Name: Las Conchas

 

Time/Date Started: 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 26, 2011
Location: Jemez Ranger District, Santa Fe National Forest; approximately 3 miles south of Los Alamos. The fire started on private land off of NM 4 at mile marker 35.
Legal Description: T18N, R4E, SEC 4
Cause: Unknown, under investigation
Fuels: Mixed Conifer, Ponderosa Pine
Size: 43,624 acres (a map of the fire is attached).

The increase in size is due to extreme fire behavior associated with prolonged drought, red flag conditions and better mapping. Last night’s infrared flight confirmed the acreage this morning. The data from the infrared flight detects heat on the ground and that is how we determine fire size. Although the fire has moved through the area, the severity of the fire area has not been determined. Some areas may have burned hotter than others. Fires often have areas that lightly burn as well as areas where the fire burns more severely. The fire also moved east toward old fire scars.

% Contained: 0
Resources Committed: Joe S. Reinarz’ Type 1 Incident Management Team has been ordered. Seven Hotshot crews (Type 1 crews), 12 Type 2 Crews, 7 engines, and 20 aircraft (12 air tankers and 8 helicopters). Numerous resources on-scene and more are en route. In fire management we all work together. We are working with local, state and federal agencies.
Weather: Today’s weather: mostly sunny in the morning then partly cloudy with a slight chance of dry thunderstorms in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation: 10 percent. Max temperatures: 80-84 degrees. Relative humidity: 10-15 percent. North winds 6 to 10 mph with gusts up to 16 mph diminishing through sunrise. Winds will shift to the southwest by late morning and increase to 12 to 18 mph with gusts up to 25 mph by late afternoon. Gusty and erratic winds expected near thunderstorms in the afternoon.
Structures/threats: Structures, powerlines, natural gas lines, Bandelier National Monument and Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). The fire has not entered lab property.
Evacuations: Cochiti Mesa, Las Conchas, Bandelier National Monument, and campgrounds near the fire were evacuated yesterday.

There were approximately 100 residents evacuated from Cochiti Mesa and Las Conchas and no evacuees have reported to the evacuation center at La Cueva Fire Station.
Voluntary evacuations were issued for White Rock and Los Alamos. Because these are voluntary evacuations, no evacuation center has been set up at this time. If you live near the fire or near the Forest who should always be ready for emergencies including evacuations, the three-step process is easy to remember and implement: Ready – Take personal responsibility and prepare long before the threat of a wildland fire so your home is ready in case of a fire. Create defensible space by clearing brush away from your home. Use fire-resistant landscaping and harden your home with fire-safe construction measures. Assemble emergency supplies and belongings in a safe spot. Plan escapes routes. Make sure all those residing within the home know the plan of action. Set – Act immediately. Pack your vehicle with your emergency items. Remember your six P’s: people, personnel computers, pets, pills, papers and pictures. Stay aware of the latest news and information on the fire from local media and your local fire department. Go – Leave early! Follow your personal action plan. Doing so will not only support your safety, but will allow firefighters to best maneuver resources to combat the fire.
Road Closures: NM 4 is closed at Jemez Falls Campground and NM 501.
Los Alamos National Labs: The Los Alamos National Laboratory will be closed due to the fire. All laboratory facilities will be closed for all activities and nonessential employees are directed to remain off site. Employees are considered nonessential and should not report to work unless specifically directed by their line managers. Employees should check local news sources, the LANL Update Hotline 505-667-6622 and the LANL web page www.lanl.gov for updates. All radioactive and hazardous material is appropriately accounted for and protected. LANL staff is coordinating the on-site response and supporting the county and federal fire response.
Bandelier National Monument: The Bandelier National Monument will be closed for at least three days due to the fire.
Valles Caldera National Preserve: The Valles Caldera National Preserve is also closed.
Summary: Active fire behavior has been observed yesterday with running and spotting on both sides of NM Hwy 4. Firefighters conducted burnout operations last night. Burnout operations consist of setting fire near containment line to consume fuel between the edge of the fire and the containment lines. Since this fire started firefighters have and will continue to fight this fire aggressively.
Smoke: For a smoke forecast from the Las Conchas and Pacheco Wildfires visit:http://gacc.nifc.gov/swcc/predictive/outlooks/smoke/swcc_smoke_outlook.pdf. For more information on how to protect yourself from smoke visit:http://nmhealth.org/eheb/documents/Smoke_FACTSHEET_06.8.11_000.pdf.

The Valles Caldera National Preserve will be CLOSED to public access due

 

Check back for futher updates as they become available.

Video

See video