Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos County and the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Los Alamos Field Office update community on status of fire currently burning in Jemez Mountains
JOINT NEWS RELEASE
Continued favorable weather conditions and additional firefighting resources have kept the Cerro Pelado fire in the Jemez Mountains from changing significantly as of Tuesday morning. The fire is about 4,903 acres and approximately 10 miles southwest of Los Alamos National Laboratory property.
The fire team is working primarily on the south side of the fire. View fire map. A second “hotshot” crew joined the firefighting effort on Monday to complete backburning efforts that protect structures and reinforce fire lines. The total number of personnel on scene is now 232.
Air support continues with three helicopters and a fixed-wing airplane doing fire retardant and water drops. Crews are working to build fire lines in anticipation of gusty winds and lower humidity levels later this week. Firefighters are prioritizing protecting homes and other structures in addition to controlling the fire.
There will be an in-person community meeting at 5:30 p.m. at the Jemez Mountain Baptist Church off NM 126. Due to internet connectivity issues, the meeting will not be livestreamed, but a recording will be posted on the Cerro Pelado Fire Facebook page.
New Mexico State Road 4 remains closed at the intersection of West Jemez Road to the intersection of New Mexico State Road 126 (from mile marker 50 to mile marker 30), and the area is still under evacuation. Because the weather forecast calls for increased wind speeds and drier conditions, emergency management officials say the road closure and evacuations are expected to remain in place at least through the weekend.
Los Alamos County Fire Chief Troy Hughes said that weather conditions may move smoke from the fire into canyons and surrounding communities, especially Los Alamos and White Rock, but a change in smoke conditions doesn’t necessarily indicate a change in fire behavior.
Los Alamos County and the Laboratory implemented Stage 2 fire restrictions on Monday, which now prohibits any outdoor burning and restricts some work activities.
The Laboratory, Los Alamos County and NNSA Field Office continue to monitor the fire as a unified response. Emergency operations managers from Los Alamos and Sandoval counties are drawing on the technical expertise of the Laboratory and NNSA, as well as that of the Los Alamos County Fire Department. Hughes said this has no negative impact on LAFD’s ability to respond to county or Laboratory calls.
The Laboratory, Los Alamos County and NNSA Field Office will continue to provide daily updates unless there is a change in fire conditions.
More information on the Cerro Pelado fire can be found here: