Friday’s strong winds caused the Cerro Pelado fire to double in size and push southeast toward Cochiti Mesa in the Las Conchas burn scar, producing heavy smoke. It is about 15,650 acres, 15% contained and about 7 miles from Laboratory property, but it does not pose an imminent threat to the Lab or Los Alamos. View current fire map.
Calmer weather is expected today and will allow helicopters and an air tanker to drop water and fire retardant. Crews will continue to focus on protecting structures and controlling the fire’s southeastern side. Officials anticipate the fire will be the most active in the Las Conchas burn scar and remain there for several days. High winds are expected tomorrow, but they should not be as severe as Friday.
Assuming no major change in conditions this weekend, the fire will continue to be visible, especially at night, and push smoke into Los Alamos and surrounding areas. View smoke report. N.M. 4 remains open to local traffic only. Motorists should be cautious on the road: watch out for firefighting vehicles and equipment as well as wildlife displaced by the fire.
Fire and Laboratory emergency management officials remind everyone that irresponsible fire behavior, such as throwing cigarette butts out car windows, is extremely dangerous at any time, especially during severe conditions, and it will be reported to the authorities.
The Southern Area Red Incident Management Team will hold another public meeting on Monday at 5:30 p.m. at Los Alamos County Council Chambers, 1000 Central Ave. Los Alamos, to give an update on the fire. Viewers may also participate remotely by Zoom: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/88609972433.
The Laboratory, Los Alamos County and the NNSA Field Office continue to monitor the fire as a unified response and will provide daily updates as long as they are necessary. 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. Los Alamos County Fire Chief Troy Hughes reminded the community that this has no negative impact on LAFD’s ability to respond to county or Laboratory calls.
More information on the Cerro Pelado fire can be found here: