LANL Says Thursday’s Black Cloud Caused By Burning Oil-Stained Palet

Smoke spotted by a driver Thursday between Bandelier National Monument and White Rock. Photo by Haylea Nisbet

Smoke from a small fire on Los Alamos National Laboratory property as seen from Mountain Elementary School on North Road. Photo by Maire O’Neill/


A large black cloud observed over Los Alamos County at around 11:30 a.m. Thursday was caused by a small fire involving a wooden oil-stained pallet, according to Los Alamos National Laboratory spokesman Peter Hyde.

The fire occurred during programmatic activity and was contained to 50 square feet, Hyde said.

“As part of LANL’s safety precautions, firefighters were standing by and quickly extinguished the fire. There were no injuries and no impact to Laboratory operations,” Hyde said.

The cloud could be clearly seen from throughout the county.