Cerro Pelado fire Tuesday (May 3) update: No red flag weather conditions forecasted next few days; Lab announces it could shift to Maximum Telework if fire crosses Dome Road

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 4, 2022

With warmer weather and dry conditions expected to continue for the next few days, crews fighting the Cerro Pelado fire in the Jemez Mountains are especially focused on the fire’s northeast section. Fire crews have been working to widen Dome Road (Forest Service Road 289 on this map), clear out underbrush, remove downed limbs and other fuels and treat the area with fire retardant.

The fire is about 5.5 miles away from Laboratory property and has burned approximately 25,000 acres. Over 560 personnel are working the fire.

The Laboratory is coordinating closely with Los Alamos County, the NNSA and the U.S. Forest Service and other agencies responding to the fire. The Lab and Los Alamos County are in the “ready” phase of “ready, set, go,” meaning there is no emergency but residents and employees should begin creating a plan in case they need to leave the area.

Laboratory managers, in coordination with Los Alamos County, NNSA and other agencies, have established points at which to make decisions about whether to move to the “set” phase, based on the fire’s progression.

This afternoon, Laboratory officials announced that 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 reduce the number of employees who might have to evacuate the site if the fire were to threaten Lab property or the townsite.

Lab leaders will determine whether Maximum Telework is necessary if the main body of the fire moves northeast and reaches Dome Road, taking into consideration the fire management incident team’s assessment of the fire (e.g., wind speed, fire behavior).

Decisions about evacuating remaining employees and the townsite will be made in conjunction with Los Alamos County if the fire continues to move closer to the Laboratory and reaches Alamo Canyon (see map here). Residents can learn about this status via the Laboratory Emergency Management webpage, 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. More information about packing a “go bag” and other information about evacuations is available on this Federal Emergency Management Agency website.

Los Alamos County and the Laboratory remain in Stage 2 fire restrictions, which prohibits any outdoor burning and restricts some work activities.

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.

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

Air quality updates can be found: on the Laboratory’s air quality monitoring website here and on AirNow.