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Public Safety

  • Lab offers look inside ops center

    When the winds are high and the air is dry in Los Alamos County, everyone this time of year seems a bit on edge, especially when wildfires start up nearby.

    With the memories of Las Conchas and Cerro Grande wildfires still freshly engrained in the memories of many residents, these days are spent looking to the horizon for the telltale plume that another wildfire is on the way.

    Their memories were refreshed this week as the Thompson Ridge fire grew to close to 18,000 acres and almost consumed the Valles Caldera Historic District.

    Only a week before the fire started, officials offered a tour of the Emergency Operations Center at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, which made one tour guide’s words rather prophetic.

    “Thought it was a good idea to bring you in here before we had an emergency, so that you had an idea of what we do and how we are equipped to deal with an emergency situation,” said Marla Brooks, emergency group leader at LANL.

    The tour was organized so the media could get a better understanding of the EOC’s role in protecting the community, and its laboratory, from wildfire and other threats.

    While the EOC was clearly the centerpiece of the tour, Brooks said when a call or an alert comes in; it’s their field operations that are usually contacted first.

  • Pecos fire continues to rage

    PECOS (AP) — Hazy conditions due to smoke from a wildfire burning east of Santa Fe are expected in the region through Tuesday as firefighters work to protect homes and other structures in the area.

    Firefighters also are trying to protect watersheds for Santa Fe and Las Vegas. The Tres Lagunas fire has burned approximately 8,500 acres but so far no structures in an area about 10 miles north of Pecos since it started Thursday due to a downed power line. Containment as of Monday night was 7 percent.

    Firefighters were working to protect a group of homes in the Holy Ghost Canyon and prevent the fire from spreading east where it could endanger a river watershed that supplies the city of Las Vegas.

    Approximately 140 structures, mostly summer residences, have been evacuated along with numerous campgrounds.

    Tres Lagunas incident commander John Pierson said firefighters had setup a sprinkler system to moisten the area around a group of summer homes in the Holy Ghost Canyon. They were also working on a fire line on the ridge above that canyon. Because the ridge is very steep, he said should the flames make a sudden leap down the canyon the only protection would be the sprinkler system connected to a nearby stream that has been dousing the area for about 48 hours.

  • Police Beat 06-04-13

    Police Beat items are compiled from public information contained in Los Alamos Police Department Records. Charges or citations listed in Police Beat do not imply innocence or guilt. The Los Alamos Police Department uses the term “arrest” to define anyone who has been physically arrested, served a court summons, or issued a citation.

    May 23

    10 a.m. —A 16-year-old Los Alamos male was referred to the Juvenile Delinquency Citation Program (JPPO) on a charge of graffiti (less than $1,000) at 1300 Diamond Drive.

    May 24

    10:08 a.m. — A 57-year-old Los Alamos male told the police he had been the victim of fraud (between $250 and $2,500) in the 1300 block of 46th Street.
    May 25

    7:31 a.m. — A 79-year-old Los Alamos male told police he had been the victim of criminal damage to property (less than $1,000) in the 400 block of Estante Way.

    2:19 p.m. — A 47-year-old Los Alamos male was the victim of battery against a household member, assault against a household member, and criminal damage to property of a household member in the 1000 block of Seminole Street.

  • Governor, emergency officials meet with residents VIDEO EXTRA

     

    The good news is firefighters battling the Thompson Ridge wildfire said they expect good firefighting weather for the next 10 days. That is, relatively low wind, and some moisture in the forecast. The bad news, the fire is not contained, and it keeps creeping slowly east toward Los Alamos.

    Officials said that “as the crow flies” the fire is about 20 to 25 miles away from Los Alamos. They also added they didn’t see Los Alamos as being in any imminent danger.

    This information was recently conveyed to an anxious group of residents who live around the Valles Caldera.  They met with fire, emergency and government officials at the La Cueva Volunteer Fire Department headquarters Saturday.

  • Health Department warns of poor air quality due to wildfires

    Due to a cold front arriving to the area later Saturday and into Sunday, smoke from the Tres Lagunas fire is expected to most significantly impact the Santa Fe Metro area, Espanola and the Pecos Canyon. Potentially unhealthy conditions could occur in these communities overnight and into the early morning.

    The New Mexico Department of Health and the New Mexico Environment Department recommend residents in these communities take precautions to minimize any health impacts from the smoke. If air quality is unhealthy as defined below, people with heart or lung disease, older adults and children should avoid prolonged or heavy physical activity outdoors. Everyone else should minimize prolonged or physical activity outdoors.

    In areas without air quality monitoring equipment, visibility can serve as a good substitute in determining air quality. People should use the following guide to determine air quality from visibility: if visibility is 10 miles and up, the air quality is good; six to nine miles, air quality is moderate; three to five miles, air quality is unhealthy for sensitive people; one and a half to two and a half miles, air quality is unhealthy; one to one and a quarter miles, air quality is very unhealthy; and three quarters of a mile or less, air quality is hazardous.

  • Gov declares state of emergency in San Miguel County as result of Pecos fire

    A fast-moving fire in New Mexico's Santa Fe National Forest prompted evacuations of homes and campgrounds, threatened cabins, and closed a state highway Friday.

    Officials asked residents in 140 homes — mostly used for the summer — to leave as crews battled the 3.1-square-mile blaze near the communities of Pecos and Tres Lagunas, about 25 miles west of Santa Fe.

    They also evacuated campgrounds and closed trailheads around Pecos, Las Vegas and Santa Fe as they worked on containment lines in hopes of preventing the fire from moving toward the capital city's watershed and the Tres Lagunas community.

    Officials said the fire doubled in size by Friday afternoon and was still totally uncontained. That prompted New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez to declare a state of emergency in San Miguel County to free up state funds to fight the fire.

    New Mexico State Forestry spokesman Dan Ware said the evacuations came after the fire jumped state Route 63.

    "Fire activity is picking up this morning, and because of expected high winds, low humidity and increasing temperatures, the spread potential is high," Ware said.

    Officials said a downed power line ignited the blaze Thursday. It's the first major wildfire this year in New Mexico, which is in its driest two-year period in nearly 120 years of record keeping.

  • Wind Advisory until 9 p.m. Thursday

    The National Weather Service has issued the following advisory for the Los Alamos vicinity:

    GUSTY WINDS OVER NORTH CENTRAL AND NORTHEAST NEW MEXICO TODAY AND EARLY THIS EVENING...

    STRONG WINDS ALOFT WILL REMAIN OVER FAR NORTHERN NEW MEXICO TODAY. COMBINED WITH WEAK SURFACE LOW PRESSURE OVER SOUTHEAST COLORADO... GUSTY WEST WINDS ARE EXPECTED OVER THE ADVISORY AREA. LOCALIZED AREAS OF REDUCED VISIBILTIES IN BLOWING DUST ARE POSSIBLE. ...

    WIND ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 10 AM THIS MORNING TO 9 PM MDT THIS EVENING... THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN ALBUQUERQUE HAS ISSUED A WIND ADVISORY...WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 10 AM THIS MORNING TO 9 PM MDT THIS EVENING. * LOCATION...MUCH OF NORTH CENTRAL NEW MEXICO AS WELL AS THE CENTRAL AND NORTHEAST HIGHLANDS...FAR NORTHEAST HIGHLANDS AND RATON RIDGE AND JOHNSON MESA. *

    WINDS...WEST 25 TO 35 MPH WITH GUSTS RANGING FROM 40 TO 50 MPH. * TIMING...WINDS WILL STRENGTHEN DURING THE MORNING WITH THE PEAK GUSTS OCCURRING BETWEEN MIDDAY AND EARLY EVENING. WINDS SHOULD BE DIMINISHING AROUND SUNSET. *

    VISIBILITY...LOCALLY REDUCED TO 3 TO 5 MILES IN BLOWING DUST. * LOCAL IMPACTS...STRONG CROSS WINDS MAY IMPACT NORTH TO SOUTH ORIENTED HIGHWAYS SUCH AS INTERSTATE 25 FROM NEAR GLORIETA TO THE COLORADO BORDER. BLOWING DUST MAY ALSO SUDDENLY RESTRICT VISIBILITIES.

  • Man charged with DWI after ending up in canyon

    A Los Alamos man was charged with DWI and abuse of aerosol Sunday after he rolled a Ford Ranger to the bottom of a canyon off of Diamond Drive near 39th Street.

    Los Alamos Fire Department arrived on the scene and treated Matthew Weinman for injuries and later transported him to Los Alamos Medical Center.

    The Los Alamos Police Department’s Sgt. James Rodriguez and Sgt. Sheldon Simpson were the first on the scene and according to the police report, “Cpl. Simpson advised me that the driver stated to him that he was doing a ‘Duster’ while driving his vehicle. Speaking with some of the witnesses they said that Weinman was driving north on Diamond, on the sidewalk prior to going through the fence and down the canyon.”

    The report stated when the vehicle was recovered from the canyon by Ace’s Towing, an almost empty can of “Duster-Dust and Lint Remover” was in the bed of the truck. And another can of the same substance was located down in the canyon where the truck was stopped.

    When Weinman was released from LAMC, he was arrested by Rodriguez. According to the report, the truck had 361 feet of tire marks on the sidewalk going north on Diamond Drive.

    The vehicle went off the sidewalk and down into the canyon approximately 58 feet to the east of Diamond Drive.
     

  • Raising funds for Okla. victims

     

  • Doctor released on bond

    Los Alamos doctor Pavel Mourachov was released Tuesday from the Los Alamos Detention Center after being arraigned in magistrate court before Judge Pat Casados.

    Mourachov was arrested last Wednesday in the parking lot of the Los Alamos Medical Center on charges of extreme cruelty to animals, harassment, and two counts of aggravated assault against a household member with a deadly weapon. The harassment is a misdemeanor, and carries a maximum penalty of one year in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.

    The rest of the charges are fourth degree felonies. Each of those charges carries a maximum penalty of 18 months in jail and/or a $5,000 fine.

    Police arrested Mourachov leaving the Los Alamos Medical Center, where the urologist has an office.

    After Mourachov was read the charges in court, Mourachov’s lawyer, Elden Pennington, asked the judge to reduce his bond because of financial hardship. Pennington said Mourachov, who is getting a divorce from his wife, is deep in debt and is struggling to keep his practice solvent.

    Casados reduced his $100,000 cash-only bond to a $10,000 surety bond, of which he has to pay 10 percent. A $10,000 surety bond was also set for the aggravated assault charges.

    Casados then read a list of release conditions and assigned Mourachov an electronic monitoring bracelet.