BY MAIRE O’NEILL
Los Alamos National Laboratory has moved into the “Ready” phase of the Ready-Set-Go wildland fire program, effective today. Los Alamos County officially entered that phase Monday.
The announcement to Lab employees indicates that the fire is about 5.5 miles from Lab property and “subject to changing weather conditions. It says there is “no emergency but employees should begin creating a plan in case they need to leave the area”.
“Laboratory managers have established set points at which to make decisions about the Lab’s status, based on the fire’s progression. If the fire moves closer to Laboratory property, all employees who can telework could be shifted to Maximum Telework status as part of an effort to facilitate the safest possible conditions for employees and the facility,” the announcement says. “The Laboratory is coordinating closely with Los Alamos County, the NNSA and the U.S. Forest Service and other agencies responding to the fire. Significant planning and preparation have been done to ensure the Laboratory will be ready if the fire becomes a threat to our property and facilities.”
The announcement says Lab leaders will determine whether Maximum Telework is necessary if the main body of the fire moves northeast and reaches Dome Road (Forest Service Road 289 on this map), taking into consideration the fire management incident team’s assessment of the fire (e.g., wind speed, fire behavior).
“Expected windy and dry weather could create these conditions as soon as later today or Wednesday,” the announcement states.
Maximum Telework would Lab employees means all employees who can must telework and not report on-site unless authorized by their Associate Laboratory Director. This would be the “set” phase of “ready, set, go. Employees have been directed to coordinate with their line managers about possible options such as working from the Lab’s leased building in Santa Fe or from home.
The move to Maximum Telework status would look similar to Lab was operating under COVID-19 restrictions when the number of people on-site was drastically reduced but mission-essential function continued. In the event that the Lab and community advance to the “go” phase of “ready-set-go”, LANL would execute its Continuity of Operations Plan.
“Decisions about evacuating remaining employees and the townsite will be made if the fire continues to move closer to the Laboratory and reaches Alamo Canyon,” the announcement said.