27 June 2011
Las Conchas fire evacuations
Posted by Jessica Ball
For all of you who have been following my posts from Los Alamos, and may have heard about the Los Conchas fire (which is burning 12 miles away from the lab at the moment), I am safe and have evacuated to Santa Fe for the time being. Here’s the latest update on the fire from the New Mexico Fire Information blog:
Las Conchas Wildfire – June 26 8:30 p.m. – Evacuation UpdatePosted on June 26, 2011 by lmlujan
The fire is now 3,500 acres + and has reached Frijoles Canyon within Bandelier National Monument. Bandelier National Monument has been evacuated. Voluntary evacuations have been issued for White Rock and Los Alamos. The fire is approximately 12 miles southwest of the boundary of the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). The fire has not entered Laboratory property at this time. All radioactive material is appropriately accounted for and protected. For more information about LANL, please see the attached news release.
Updated information in red.
LAS CONCHAS WILDFIRE UPDATE
Fire Name: Las Conchas
Time/Date Started: 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 26, 2011
Location: Jemez Ranger District, Santa Fe National Forest; approximately 12 miles southwest of Los Alamos off NM 4 at mile marker 35. The fire started on private land.
Legal Description: T18N, R4E, SEC 4
Cause: Unknown, under investigation
Fuels: Mixed Conifer, Ponderosa Pine
Size: 3,500 acres +. The fire is actively burning. Running, crowning and spotting up to a half a mile of the head of the fire has been observed.
% Contained: 0
Resources Committed: Multiple ground and air resources are en route and on scene. Joe S. Reinarz’ Type 1 Incident Management Team has been ordered.
Today’s Weather: Red flag conditions (hot temperatures, low humidity, high winds) contributed to the intense fire behavior and fire growth. Strong west winds will continue through the afternoon into the early evening. For a complete weather forcast for this fire click here.
Structures/threats: Structures and powerlines. Power and phone lines are down in the area. The fire is approximately 12 miles southwest of the boundary of the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). The fire has not entered Laboratory property at this time. All radioactive material is appropriately accounted for and protected.
Evacuations: Residents living within Cochiti Mesa and Las Conchas are being evacuated at this time. Campgrounds near the area including Jemez Falls Campground have been evacuated. Evacuees are being housed at the La Cueva Fire Station. Bandelier National Monument has been evacuated. Voluntaryevacuations have been 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, men’s 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 at NM 510.
Summary: Active fire behavior has been observed with running and spotting on both sides of NM 4.
Smoke: A smoke plume emitting black and grey smoke is visible from Jemez Springs, Albuquerque, Bernalillo, Los Alamos, Cuba, Gallina, Santa Fe, NM 4 and I-25. Winds from the west are pushing the smoke east and north toward Santa Fe, Tesuque, and Nambe. Other areas further to the east and north may also expereinece smoke impacts. For more information on smoke impacts from the Las Conchas and Pacheco Wildfires visit:http://gacc.nifc.gov/swcc/predictive/outlooks/smoke/swcc_smoke_outlook.pdf.
I have some photos and videos of the fire which I will try to post tomorrow. If any of my readers are in the Los Alamos/White Rock/Jemez area, keep safe and watch the fire updates!
Oh no, not again! I lived in Los Alamos in the 1970s and still love it. Good luck to you and to everyone.