Cerro Pelado Fire 23 Percent Contained; Lab, County To Remain In ‘Set’ For Now

A news release from Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos County, the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Los Alamos Field Office and the Department of Energy Office of Environmental Management Los Alamos Field Office


More favorable winds and firefighting and mitigation efforts continue to help crews responding to the Cerro Pelado fire in the Jemez Mountains. The fire is now 23% contained, and growth overnight was again the smallest since the fire began. Cerro Pelado is now 45,591 acres, and red flag conditions (high winds) are not expected to return until next week.

The Laboratory and Los Alamos County remain in the “set” stage of “ready, set, go” but will consult with the fire team and NNSA to evaluate the status early next week. The weather remains extremely dry, meaning the risk of new fires starting is still very high. The Laboratory, including Triad and N3B, will remain on Maximum Telework until the status is changed to “ready.”

Relatively calmer winds mean crews will again directly attack the fire with water and fire retardant and other assets along Forest Service Road 287 and in Alamo Canyon. The Laboratory is continuing to remove underbrush, downed limbs and other fire fuels from Lab property and assisting firefighters at the northeast corner of the fire line, nearest the Lab and the County border.

“We’re happy to see conditions somewhat stabilized, but we still have very active fuel bed,” Los Alamos County Fire Department Chief Troy Hughes said. “This fire has good checkpoints and containment. The next start is still our greatest concern.”

Emergency officials from the County and the Lab again reminded residents and employees that both the County and the Lab have implemented stage 3 fire restrictions to prevent fire danger.

Los Alamos residents should report any violations of stage 3 fire restrictions to the Los Alamos Consolidated Dispatch Center at (505) 662-8222 or in the event of an emergency, dial 9-1-1. This will ensure any incident is properly investigated or addressed by fire officials and police.

Violations of stage 3 restrictions on Lab property will be cause for disciplinary action. Employees should report irresponsible or dangerous fire behavior – such as throwing lit cigarettes onto the ground – to (505) 667-2400.

Read more about Los Alamos County stage 3 fire restrictions.

A new Type 2 fire team is scheduled to assume command of the fire on Thursday, May 19. 

See the most recent fire map.

Additional resources

  • Residents can learn about evacuation status via the Laboratory’s web page, the Los Alamos County Cerro Pelado Fire Updates page and the community’s CodeRED alert system. Sign up for Los Alamos County’s CodeRED emergency alerts by texting LOSALAMOS to 99411. Also, a step-by-step guide to signing up for CodeRed can be watched on YouTube
  • More information about packing a “go bag” and other information about evacuations is available on this Federal Emergency Management Agency website. Also: view shelter information. (Note: there is no evacuation order at this time from either the County or the Laboratory.) 
  • Forms are available on the County’s webpage, where individuals can pose questions and request assistance with transportation or animals in case of evacuation.
  • A form is also available on the County’s webpage, where questions can be submitted about county operations as it relates to the fire. For fire-specific questions, please contact the Great Basin Team 1 by phone at (505) 312-4593, (303) 918-4004 or email at 2022.CerroPelado@firenet.gov. Please do not contact emergency responders directly.
  • Air quality updates can be found on the Laboratory’s air quality monitoring website and on AirNow

Be sure to rely on official sources for the latest information on the Cerro Pelado fire, such as: