COUNTY NEWS RELEASE
The National Weather Service forecasts elevated to extreme fire weather conditions for Friday, April 22, across the State of New Mexico. High winds in the Los Alamos area are expected to peak at around 50 miles per hour between 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. This coupled with very low humidity, above-average temperatures and unstable conditions increase the risk of wildfires that can spread rapidly. Therefore, the Los Alamos Fire Department reminds individuals to follow “One Less Spark” campaign from the National Wildfire Coordinating Group.
To mitigate sparks and heat sources that can ignite dry grasses and vegetation, officials with the LAFD discourage individuals from engaging in the following activities on Friday unless necessary:
· Driving off designated roadways,
· Using or operating a generator, chainsaw or other internal combustible engine without a spark arresting device
· Burning outdoors
· Parking in tall grass
In addition, individuals are advised to make sure that cigarettes are extinguished and safely discarded and trailer chains are properly stowed.
Moreover, due to possible downed trees and power lines, as well as low visibility due to smoke and dust, citizens are advised to stay indoors, limit travel and stay off the trails. Individuals who need supplies or prescriptions should do so in the morning before winds are predicted to spike.
LAFD officials note that emergency responses could be delayed except for true emergencies if there is a significant blown-down tree event. Dispatchers will limit first responders’ exposure to falling tree hazards while the wind event is in full force.
While the Los Alamos Department of Public Utilities has implemented several measures to reduce the scope and duration of power outages, DPU staff recommends that individuals be prepared by reviewing the information at ladpu.com/blackout.
DPU only needs one initial phone call to dispatch crews and determine the extent of an outage, so if the power has been out for more than a few minutes, customers are asked to refrain from reporting the disruption. Further, unless there is an immediate threat to life, citizens should not call 9-1-1 to report a power outage.
Residents who rely on electric-powered medical equipment should have a backup plan in place. Also, for residents with decks and yards, outdoor items such as lawn furniture and trampolines should be brought inside or anchored down so they can’t be picked up and carried by wind gusts.