Fire update: Maximum Telework to go into effect May 9, Lab to move to ‘set’ stage of fire readiness

Lab property is safe for mission essential employees; all others may come on-site between now and noon, Monday, May 9, to gather equipment, secure workspaces

May 8, 2022

Effective at 8 a.m., Monday, May 9, the Laboratory will move to Maximum Telework for all non-mission essential employees as a precaution in response to the Cerro Pelado fire in the Jemez Mountains. The move to Maximum Telework means the Laboratory will also move to the “set” stage of “ready, set, go.” 

Mission essential employees on-site are safe, and the Laboratory will not hesitate to take further proactive measures to ensure employees’ safety. Reducing the number of people physically on-site by moving all non-mission essential personnel to Maximum Telework will ensure the Laboratory is better prepared if conditions change and there is a need to further reduce on-site presence. 

All non-mission essential employees may come on-site between today, Sunday, May 8, and noon, Monday, May 9, to gather any remaining equipment necessary for telework and to ensure their workspaces are secured. 

The “set” phase of “ready, set, go” means that conditions could change rapidly, and it is time to create a plan and prepare in case of an evacuation order. Click here to watch a video from Director Thom Mason explaining why the Lab has made this decision and what it means for employees.

“Just as we were ‘ready,’ we now need to get ‘set,’” Mason says in the video. “If you don’t have to be at work, it’s time to prepare to telework. Conditions can change quickly, it has been very dry, very windy, and we have to be respectful of that risk and ready for what comes next.”

At home, employees who live in Los Alamos should create an evacuation plan, a “go bag,” and a communication plan that includes area evacuation and contact information, and be sure to pay close attention to news and information about the fire. 

The shift to Maximum Telework is similar to the Laboratory’s status during the COVID-19 pandemic and will allow the Lab to maintain mission essential functions. If the Laboratory were to move to the “go” phase of “ready, set, go,” each mission essential function would execute its established Continuity of Operations Plan, as coordinated previously with the NNSA Field Office.

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 the property and facilities. Those efforts combined with many years of effective forest management mean that the Laboratory is well prepared in case of fire. Read more here.

Decisions about evacuating remaining employees and the townsite will be made if the fire continues to move closer to the Laboratory. If an evacuation is necessary, the Laboratory has a protocol for a phased departure based on the geography of the site. The Laboratory will alert employees via Everbridge text, the Laboratory’s web page and LANL email.  

Los Alamos-area residents also may sign up for Los Alamos County’s CodeRED emergency alerts by texting LOSALAMOS to 99411.

Other official sources of information on the Cerro Pelado fire include: