Los Alamos Fire Chief: Preventive Burns Were Successful
Incident: Las Conchas Wildfire
LOS ALAMOS, New Mexico June 29, 2011 - Los Alamos County Fire Chief Doug Tucker said Wednesday that preventive burns just outside the western boundary of Los Alamos National Laboratory have been successful.
"In my professional opinion, there is a less than 10% chance of spot fires on Lab property this evening, diminishing tomorrow," Tucker said during a briefing to emergency managers.
Firefighters began setting "back burns" on the west side of New Mexico State Route 501 around mid-morning. Those operations were declared complete by evening. The burns were intended to remove available fuel from the Las Conchas Fire, which has consumed more than 60,000 acres on two sides of the 37-square-mile LANL site but only one acre of the Lab itself.
"What I witnessed today was an incredibly professional job by men and women who are risking their lives to save our community and this Laboratory," said LANL Director Charles McMillan. "I could feel the heat of the fire on my face as I watched from the roof of our Emergency Operations Center."
The Laboratory has posted video of the preventive burn to a new YouTube page at http://www.youtube.com/watch v=ETd8OCXVvkM.
No wild fires are currently burning on Lab property. All of the Laboratory's nuclear and hazardous materials, including its waste and environmental remediation sites, are safe, accounted for, and protected.Earlier Wednesday, LANL announced it would remain closed through Friday, July 1.
Laboratory employees seeking further information about the Las Conchas fire 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 (http://www.lanl.gov/) for updates.The Laboratory has posted a number of pictures to its Flickr photo site including images of the deployed AIRNET units. http://www.flickr.com/photos/losalamosnatlab/
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 http://www.nmfireinfo.com/ for official fire updates.About Los Alamos National Laboratory (http://www.lanl.gov/)Los Alamos National Laboratory, a multidisciplinary research institution engaged in strategic science on behalf of national security, is operated by Los Alamos National Security, LLC, a team composed of Bechtel National, the University of California, The Babcock & Wilcox Company, and URS for the Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration.Los Alamos enhances national security by ensuring the safety and reliability of the U.S. nuclear stockpile, developing technologies to reduce threats from weapons of mass destruction, and solving problems related to energy, environment, infrastructure, health, and global security concerns.