Cerro Pelado fire Sunday (May 1) update: High wind to push smoke into Los Alamos, Española area; section of N.M. 4 closed again

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

May 1, 2022

Strong winds throughout the day and into tonight will again push heavy smoke from the Cerro Pelado fire into Los Alamos, White Rock and Española and create challenges for firefighters in the Jemez Mountains. However, the fire remains about 7 miles from Lab property, pushing southeast toward Cochiti Mesa. View current fire map

Fire officials have again closed N.M. 4 from mile marker 47 east of Sierra los Piños to mile marker 50 west of White Rock. Valles Caldera National Preserve and Bandelier National Monument are closed.

Fire crews will continue to focus on protecting structures in the Cochiti Mesa area and on controlling the fire, but wind gusts likely will prevent air support today.

Red Flag conditions continue throughout today (very high wind and low humidity). To date, the fire has consumed 17,885 acres. Fire lines are holding, but the area contained has dropped to 10% due to the growth in the fire. About 440 personnel are responding.

High winds are expected off and on throughout the week. Officials anticipate the fire will be the most active in the Las Conchas burn scar and remain there for several days. Assuming no major change in conditions this weekend, the fire will continue to be visible, especially at night, and the Los Alamos area will remain smoky. View smoke report and air quality information.

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. in Los Alamos, to give an update on the fire. Viewers may also participate remotely by Zoom: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/88609972433.

All area residents and Lab employees should stay on alert and be very careful with 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 dry and windy weather, and it will be reported to the authorities.

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 reminds 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: