Cerro Pelado fire Saturday (May 14) update: Fire 23% contained; Lab, County to remain in ‘set’ for now

May 14, 2022

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