From the New Mexico Fire Information website:
Date when the Las Conchas Wildfire started: 1 p.m., 6/26/2011
Size: approximately 103,993 acres
Percent Contained: 5%
Cause: Unknown – under investigation
Number of personnel: Approximately 1,508 personnel including 37 handcrews.
Location: Approximately 12 miles southwest of Los Alamos off NM 4 at mile marker 35.
Fuels: Mixed Conifer, Ponderosa Pine. Fuel moisture is extremely low.
Although fire lines in the Los Alamos area are currently holding, these lines are not fully contained. In many areas today’s fire behavior was generally a backing fire, spreading the fire slowly down slopes and into canyons. Where downed logs are burning, heat and smoke are prevalent. As the smoke column developed, some locations along the fire perimeter experienced more active fire behavior.
Firefighters are facing many challenges including steep terrain, multiple abandoned underground mining operations, and threats of flash flooding. In many places the fire is burning in older fire scars including the 2000 Cerro Grande Fire which has the added challenge of eroded slopes with many downed logs. Both live and dead vegetation are at historically dry levels.
Firefighting activities focus on protecting communities, watersheds, and other important features. Several communities around the fire include Los Alamos, White Rock, Recheulos, Town of Cochiti Lake, Cochiti Pueblo, Jemez Pueblo, and Vallecitos de Indios Subdivision. Other concerns include numerous communication sites, the New Mexico natural gas pipeline, Cerro Pelado Lookout, extensive cultural and archeological sites, watersheds and riparian areas.
Current Evacuations: City of Los Alamos – The acting Los Alamos County Administrator issued an evacuation order for the city of Los Alamos. The Cities of Gold hotel in Pojoaque is offering shelter services for evacuating residents of Los Alamos. Los Alamos County officials are beginning to work on a plan to recall County employees in preparing to re-open the town site in the near future. No date for re-opening the town site to the general public has been announced yet.White Rock is currently under a voluntary evacuation.
The Los Alamos National Laboratory will be closed due to the fire. All laboratory facilities will be closed for all activities, and nonessential employees are directed to remain off site. Employees that are considered nonessential should not report to work unless specifically directed by their line managers. Employees should check local news sources, the LANL Update Hotline (505) 667-6622 and the LANL web page http://www.lanl.gov/ for updates. For additional information regarding evacuations or the Los Alamos National Laboratory, please call (505) 820-1226.All radioactive and hazardous material is appropriately accounted for and protected. LANL staff is coordinating the on-site response and supporting the county and federal fire response.
Please pray, pray, pray! Pray for all the wildlife lost to the terrible fire. Pray that the Los Alamos Nuclear Lab — one of two nuclear weapons-producing labs in America — be safe.