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Los Alamos National Laboratory: Las Conchas Fire Update

June 29, 2011 - 10:33am

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Many of you have asked for more information about the potential impact of the fire in New Mexico on the Energy Department's Los Alamos National Laboratory. We'd like to share the latest update from the lab below.  You can also monitor the Laboratory’s news site for the latest information.

LANL Announces Closure for Thursday, June 30
Los Alamos, New Mexico, June 28, 2011, 7:00pm--Los Alamos National Laboratory tonight announced it will remain closed through Thursday, June 30 because of risks presented by the Las Conchas Fire and the mandatory evacuation of Los Alamos town site. 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 from their supervisors to report to the Laboratory. Employees should check local news sources, Los Alamos County Emergency Radio on AM 1610, the LANL Update Hotline (505-667-6622) and the LANL web page for updates.

The Laboratory has implemented a multiyear fire safety improvement program since the 2000 Cerro Grande Fire. Starting with an emergency Congressional appropriation shortly after the fire, LANL:

  • Purchased more than 35 new fire trucks, service vehicles, and pieces of heavy equipment
  • Built a multimillion-dollar state-of-the-art emergency operations center (see photo here)
  • Conducted $20 million worth of tree-thinning operations, clearing of ground fuels, and construction of fire breaks and roads across the Lab
  • Built a new interagency fire center with a helicopter base and water dip tanks
  • Enacted interagency agreements and training with the U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, Los Alamos County, and the state of New Mexico
  • Improved storm water runoff and erosion controls, planted more than 10,000 willows, and built structures to help prevent contaminants from flowing down canyons
  • “The Lab and our interagency partners have applied the lessons learned from Cerro Grande,” said NNSA Los Alamos Site Office Manager Kevin Smith. “The improvements between then and now are substantial and they are making a difference in this fire.”
  • A Joint Information Center has been established at the Regional Development Corporation, 2209 Miguel Chavez Rd. in Santa Fe.  Media should call 505-820-1226 for updates and monitor www.nmfireinfo.com for official fire updates.
  • See additional photos from the Laboratory on the LANL Flickr site.

For official fire updates, please visit: www.nmfireinfo.com.

Liisa O'Neill is a New Media Specialist in the Office of Public Affairs.

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