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Today's News

  • Squirrel sparks one-acre fire on LANL property

    A squirrel touched contacts in an electrical substation’s transformer today at Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Technical Area 53, the Los Alamos Neutron Science Center (LANSCE) Facility substation.
    The transformer sparked a small fire on the LANSCE property,approximately one acre, and Los Alamos Fire Department staff extinguished it within a short period.
    As a result, the Los Alamos Truck Route was closed.
    NM 502 is open for essential emergency personnel and there are security checkpoints on that route.
    "I think the Truck Route will reopen soon," said lab spokesman Kevin Roarke.
    The truck route did reopen to traffic by mid-afternoon.
    The Laboratory Emergency Operations Center has been activated as a precautionary measure.

  • Nationwide Incident Command System assures coordinated response to fires

    By Friday afternoon there were 1,201 fire personnel fighting the Las Conchas fire. And do not round out that “1.” “That ‘1’ is worth their weight in gold,” said Terry McDermott, Communications and Marketing manager at Valles Caldera. These firefighters are members of six hotshot crews, 27 hand crews and several Type I, II and III crews from all over the country. The Navajo Hot Shots are here, as are crews from Colorado, Montana, Wyoming, California, Oregon and Washington.

    The deployment of these teams is coordinated through the Incident Command System; systems created over 30 years ago to train and coordinate all federal and state fire agencies.

  • County making plans for LA evacuees’ return

    Los Alamos County recalled approximately 100 “essential” employees Friday 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 Friday and no longer threatening the lab or most of the community, both entities are beginning to gear up now for re-opening operations.

  • State EOC monitors Las Conchas Fire

    SANTA FE — The state activated its Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in Santa Fe five hours after the Las Conchas Fire began at 1 p.m. last Sunday.

    “We are the hammer for the local (EOCs),” said Response and Recovery Bureau Chief Don Scott. “The EOC is how we make sure every state agency is working together.”

    A map projected the massive boundaries of the Las Conchas Fire on the wall in the EOC’s briefing facility. The blaze has scorched more than 113,000 acres of forestland, making it the largest fire in state history.

  • 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.