Wildfire Still Threatens Los Alamos Nuclear Facility

June 30, 2011

Wildfire is threatening Los Alamos National Laboratory in northern New Mexico, and has burned more than 10,000 acres, local officials report.

Although an increase in humidity early Tuesday was a short-term benefit, rounds of gusty winds are expected through Thursday, according to weather reports.

Winds across the Southwest each day through Thursday will generally be sustained at 20 to 30 mph with gusts near or past 40 mph in some places. Wind direction will be out of the south to southwest in most areas.

Dry thunderstorms could also develop across northern and western New Mexico as well as eastern Arizona over the next few days, threatening to spark new wildfires.

According to officials, the Las Conchas fire broke out on June 26 and was reported about a mile to the southwest of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, one of the nation’s premier national security research institutions that specializes in nuclear science. The fire has since burned more than 60,000 acres and destroyed at least 30 structures.

Spot fires have developed ahead of the Las Conchas wildfire with one reported on the lab’s property Monday. That spot fire was contained.

According to New Mexico Fire Information, all nuclear and hazardous materials were still accounted for and protected as of Tuesday.

The Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association advised residents evacuated as a result of the blaze to contact their insurance agents or company representatives immediately to provide them with emergency contact information. The association also recommended homeowners or renters who are under a mandatory evacuation order to determine if they have insurance coverage for “additional living expenses” or “prohibited use” which provides them with a certain amount of out-of-pocket money under their insurance policy while they are forced out of their homes.

“Evacuated residents should contact their insurance agent or company representative immediately to let their company know how they can be reached and if they need additional living expenses while they are forced out of their home,” said Carole Walker, RMIIA executive director. She said residents should document their belongings and potential damage as they return to their homes once the evacuation orders have been lifted.

At press time the lab had announced that it will remain closed.

Topics Catastrophe Natural Disasters Wildfire Mexico

Was this article valuable?

Here are more articles you may enjoy.