Local News

  • National Guard secures town

    Just about everyone has heard a joke or two about calling the National Guard when a situation gets dire. They seem to be the go-to guys and gals that can take care of just about anything.

    Los Alamos County was in just that type of a situation Sunday when the Las Conchas Fire broke out in the Jemez Springs area and quickly spread toward Los Alamos National Lab, Bandelier National Monument and the town of Los Alamos. As a result, Gov. Susana Martinez called on the Army National Guard to help with evacuation and security efforts in Los Alamos.

    Approximately 115 men and women from various units across New Mexico descended on Los Alamos Sunday Night.

  • Eateries Pitch In To Feed Firefighters

    The chance to take a break and refuel is necessary for everyone but it could not be more essential for the brave men and women fighting the Las Conchas Fire. Quick to address this need several groups of Los Alamos citizens sprang into action seeking donations and volunteering their labor to get meals to all those emergency responders.

    Local restaurants and Elks Lodge #2083 have opened the doors of their buildings and their refrigerators to make sure that all get fed.

    Eppie Trujillo and Mark Smith helped organize the effort put forth by the Elks. “Our goal is to put a smile on their faces and make sure that everyone is well fed. The  Elks’ motto is we care, we share,” Trujillo said.

  • LANL enters recovery mode

    Los Alamos National Laboratory on Friday declared an end to its state of emergency and moved into operational recovery mode.

    The change in status allows resources previously assigned to the lab to be relocated to assist ongoing firefighting efforts in the region, said LANL Director Charlie McMillan.

    "On Monday, we put the lab to an operational emergency status and we worked like that the entire week," McMillan said Saturday morning. "Around 4 p.m., we took the status to recovery mode. After input from fire chief Doug Tucker, we were assured the risk to be lower to the lab. This allows the resources that were focused on the lab to be focused on other fires."

  • LA County officials begin planning for evacuees return--video extra

    Los Alamos County recalled approximately 100 “essential” employees today to begin preparing to re-open the community. They have set up a County Recovery Operations Center (ROC) at Mesa Public Library, according to Acting Assistant County Administrator Anne Laurent. The County’s ROC will be focusing on planning activities and determining what steps need to be taken. Until today, County staff had been limited to emergency responders who had co-located with LANL counterparts at the Joint Emergency Operations Center located on LANL property. With the fire moving further north today and no longer threatening the Lab or most of the community, both entities are beginning to gear up now for re-opening operations.

  • No advance notice for residents' return

    There will be no advanced notice for when Los Alamos residents will be able to return home, police chief Wayne Torpy said both Friday and Saturday.

    Torpy said if there was advanced notice, NM 502 heading up the hill and the Los Alamos Truck Route would be packed during hot weather and it could potentially create problems for emergency responders if there was an accident.

    Instead, a Reverse 911 call will go out when the announcement is made by the county.

    Residents can go online to the County’s webpage at www.losalamosnm.us and sign up to receive the announcement on their cell phone or e-mail.

    Torpy urged everybody to stay patient and there have been no reports of any criminal activity.

  • Wildfire eclipses state record--video extra

    Erupting into the largest fire ever recorded in New Mexico, the Las Conchas Fire has today consumed 103,842 acres of forestland. The massive blaze surpasses the previous record holder – the Dry Lakes Fire – that torched more than 94,000 acres in the Gila National Forest in 2003.

    The fastest moving portion of the Las Conchas blaze is speeding northbound and has spurred Santa Clara Pueblo Gov. Walter Dasheno to declare a state of emergency for the pueblo. The fire has burned nearly 145 square miles, including 6,000 acres within the pueblo’s watershed.

    More than 1,000 firefighters are battling the blaze, which began Sunday afternoon in the Jemez Mountains southwest of Los Alamos.

  • The Los Alamos County Summer Concert Series will go on

    Neither sun, wind, sleet nor hail will stop the Los Alamos County Summer Concert Series.

    Apparently, fire won’t either.

    Despite the fact that the Las Conchas Fire forced evacuations in Los Alamos on Monday, the show will go on, albeit at a different venue.

    The James Hyland Band from Austin, Texas will perform from 7-10 p.m. today at the Plaza de Española.

    Atomic City Transit will provide transportation to and from the concert to the area shelters.

    Concert coordinator Russ Gordon said he spoke with Hyland and gave him the option of canceling the show because of the fire.

  • Pueblo of Pojoaque welcomes evacuees

    The Pueblo of Pojoaque has done more than just open its doors to Los Alamos and White Rock evacuees.

    Tribal leaders and pueblo members have welcomed evacuees as they would welcome guests to their home.
    Governor George Rivera saw the fire spring up Sunday from his home high on a hilltop. “From what I could see between Los Alamos and White Rock, the horizon was on fire right behind them,” Rivera said. “So I knew it was going to grow, based on the wind.” Rivera called the command center in Los Alamos and let them know the pueblo already had several locations identified as shelters should it became necessary.

  • Los Alamos evacuees show tremendous spirit

    Having to evacuate your home, knowing you may never see it again, has to be one of the most devastating things in the world. This makes the affability and optimism of many Los Alamos refugees quite remarkable.

    Joyce Eyster and Phyllis Holland – who was staying at the casino with her dog – looked like two old friends enjoying an afternoon tea as they sat outside the shelter at Cities of Gold Casino. For them – as for many of the evacuees – this was a reprise of the Cerro Grande fire.

  • It's official: Las Conchas blaze now largest wildfire in state history

    LOS ALAMOS, N.M. (AP) — A wildfire near the nation's premier nuclear weapons laboratory and a northern New Mexico community has grown to more than 103,800 acres, or 162 square miles.

    That makes it the largest forest fire in New Mexico history. After burning for six days, the blaze near Los Alamos has surpassed the Dry Lakes fire, which blackened more than 94,000 acres of the Gila National Forest in 2003.

    The Los Alamos National Laboratory is closed because of the fire, and the nearby community of Los Alamos is evacuated. But crews remain confident they can keep the blaze from spreading to the lab and the town.